Tunnel vision

A student crosses above ground from campus toward Wal-Mart. Construction on an underground tunnel, at approximately this same site, will begin next summer. Randyl Nielson/UVU ReviewThere are few coincidences in life. The Sinclair by campus is extinct, the Subway by Wal-Mart was forced under. After connecting the dots, across University Parkway a tunnel is the result.

Soon there will be a pedestrian tunnel that travels under University Parkway, starting just east of where the Subway was and coming up where the Sinclair was. The main purpose of the tunnel is to ease the flow of traffic at the second busiest intersection in the state, only behind 600 So. in Salt Lake, explained Jim Michaelis, associate vice president over facilities.

This is an idea that has been kicked around for over four years. Along with being able to walk faster across University Parkway, it will help students driving to and from UVU by allowing the traffic lights to be better timed instead of forcing traffic to wait at lights while students walk across the nine lanes of traffic.

Michaelis said that in order to accommodate those with disabilities, the tunnel will not have stairs. This is the reason a tunnel was chosen, as opposed to an overpass. This has earned them the support of the American Disability Association.

Unfortunately, that is where the help for UVU students end. There will be no additional parking offered across University Parkway and no parking structure is in the works.

The Sinclair and Subway were closed by the state using eminent domain, which means the state has the ability to purchase or seize any property with out any consent from the owner, as long as there is appropriate compensation. This happened to the 7-11 on Center Street in Orem as well.

The tunnel is part of the I-15 CORE project and will include an extension of the freeway off-ramps. There is no specific design put together, so there currently is not an exact position for the tunnel. Construction is expected to begin sometime in the Summer of 2011.

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