City of St. George transportation services manager Cameron Cutler said the bid was awarded to Interstate Rock Products, 42 S. 850 West, suite 201, Hurricane, UT 84737, at a council meeting on Feb 20.
Cutler said council was set to move forward with the award at the Feb. 13 meeting, but some residents from the little valley area came in to request a complete closure of that part of Little Valley Rd., instead of an expansion. He said the request came after temporarily diverted traffic, redirected long enough to lower the water lines so the expansion could begin, resulted in a quieter road for some area residents.
Cutler said one homeowner said the reduced traffic made for a nice and quiet living space, which he preferred.
“The traffic was being diverted down a 50 ft. road right by an elementary school,” he said.
Little Valley Elementary School principal Rob Stevenson said the additional traffic into the school zones created safety concerns for the children who walked to and from school. He said the road diversion forces the traffic down 2350 East, which is directly in front of the elementary school.
Stevenson said he understands the traffic is temporary, but the problem has forced the school to take preventative action.
“We’ve had to pick up some duty assignments up on this 2350 to help students cross, because we’ve got a lot more of the big trucks, and the cement trucks, and the construction type vehicles along with just the regular traffic,” he said.
Several teachers volunteer each morning and afternoon to help students cross the street at problem areas, but Stevenson said it should all be worth it when the construction is over.
“We are very much in favor of the improvements on Little Valley Rd. to widen it,” he said.
Stevenson said that he hopes the city will eventually put a traffic light in near the area. He said having a light to help students cross such a busy road would be a tremendous leap forward in student safety.
St. George Police Department public information officer Sergeant Sam Bestain said there are no more issues of incidents in the Little Valley area than there are in any other parts of St. George.
However, because of the rapid growth in the Little Valley region, Bestain said they do have some added traffic concerns that SGPD works to alleviate through regular traffic patrols.
“There are issues there that we try to address and deal with,” he said. “We have officers who are assigned to that area that work in that area and deal with traffic related issues as they arise and try to work traffic enforcement in the Little Valley area.”
Cutler said the catalyst that lead to the road expansion came when a Little Valley man reported being clipped by a car when riding his horse along the side of Little Valley Rd. in the area in question.
He said Little Valley is the sort of place where two worlds collide. The area is a combination of land zoned for horses and agriculture, and land zoned for growth and development, and he said growth and development took off at an unexpected pace.
Where the two spaces meet, Cutler said the roads are simply insufficient to meet the needs of the residents in the area.
“In 1982 we showed (Little Valley Rd.) as a collector road on our map,” he said. “A collector road is typically a 60 ft., or a 66 ft. wide road.
“There are residential collectors and major collectors,” he added.
Cutler said local roads (40 – 45 ft.), which are the residential roads, feed into collector roads, which then feed into the larger arterial roads (80 – 100 ft.). The arterial roads feed into major principle roads, and he said those are roads like freeways.
The delicate balance of safety vs. lifestyle was an important consideration, and it influenced how city council decided to move forward Cutler said. He said it was important to consider both the need to expand the collector road to its appropriate size so it could support area traffic, and to meet the needs of the homeowners who work their land in an agricultural way.
He said that after a week of deliberating about how to best move forward, city council proposed a compromise to Little Valley residents.
The expansion will include sidewalks, curb and gutters, Cutler said. Between the sidewalk and the property lines, he said the city plans to leave a portion of raw land for horse owners to work their animals, and ride safely.
Interstate Rock Products controller Michael Madsen said the bid placed to the city for $650,000 may change since there plans to accommodate residents will alter previous requests. He said he is not sure yet if it will increase or lower that amount, because he does not have the details of the new plans yet, but he looks forward to moving forward with the project.
When that will happen is hard to project right now, Madsen said. As soon as they have plans finalized, he said they would have a better idea of how much it should cost, how long the expansion should take and exactly what the road reconstruction will look like when it is finished.
He said Interstate Rock Products has worked with the city of St. George in the past, and they have typically shown a willingness to engage with, and honor the needs of, all parties involved in enacting change within the community.
“When you go to do a project you don’t listen to just the contractor and the owner,” he said. “You listen to all of the stakeholders, which would be the residents, the businesses and the public, and you get all of them in to a meeting or a partnering session so that everyone says what they need to say.”
Madsen said “partnering” is an important part of the process that ensures all parties involved have their needs met.
“We are excited to work for St. George,” he said. “And we are excited about the way they’re handling it.
“At the end of the day, we want it to accomplish everything that they’re wanting it to,” he added.