Interstate 15 In Utah

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This page was last updated on August 11, 2020.

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I-15 Construction History By Year

(Based on newspaper reports)

(1959) -- Work started on I-15
(1966) -- 5300 South to 9000 South (awarded June 1966)
1966 -- Brigham City to Honeyville (began November 1959)
1966 -- Honeyville to Elwood (began February 1960; opened May 1966)
1966 -- Layton to Ogden 31st Street (opened November 15, 1966)
1967 -- Elwood to Tremonton (awarded in fall 1967) (junction I-15 and I-80N)
1969 -- Ogden 31st Street to Hot Springs (awarded April 1967)
(1970) -- Hot Springs to Brigham City (awarded May 1970)
1972 -- Pages Lane to Lagoon
1974 -- Lagoon to Layton, northbound lanes (awarded April 1970)
1978 -- Lagoon to Layton, southbound lanes

March 30, 1950
A public meeting was held to gather input for the new expressway to be built along Salt Lake City's west side. The general route, extending from U. S. 91 at the Salt Lake-Davis county line, crossing the railroad tracks at Beck's Hot Springs, then progressing southward to connect with an extension of 8th West at about 9th North. In the future the route would extend along 6th West to about 13th South, then along 4th West, had already been approved by the State Road Commission and the federal Bureau of Public Roads. The viauct crossing the railroad tracks at Beck's Hot Springs would at first be two lanes, but would be expanded to be four lanes in the near future. (An aerial photo dated May 27, 1958 shows the added lanes, but without cars or completed approaches.) (Salt Lake Telegram, March 22, 1950; Salt Lake Tribune, May 27, 1950, construction to begin in summer 1951)

February 25, 1960
Contractors began work on Interstate 15 in November 1959, from Brigham City to Honeyville. In February 1960, contractors began work on the segment from Honeyville to Elwood. (The Leader Garland Times, February 25, 1960)

June 22, 1961
Bids were opened for the surfacing of Interstate 15 between Brigham City and Elwood (10.8 miles). Work was to begin in June 1961, and was to be completed by December. The work includes the connection at Elwood with Interstate 80N, which is along the present route of U.S. 30S. The overpasses and interchange structures were not yet completed. The bridge over the Bear River was the only structure completed. (The Leader Garland Times, June 22, 1961)

June 1975
Interstate 15 between Plymouth and the Idaho line (6-1/2 miles) had been under construction since June 1975, and was half finished by mid December 1975. The contract for three overhead bridges had been awarded, with the work to be completed by the end of February 1976. The contract for concrete paving was to be awarded in early Spring 1976. (Ogden Standard Examniner, December 15, 1975)

October 1978
The southbound lanes of I-15 between Farmington and Layton were completed in late October 1978. The following comes from the September 21, 1978 issue of the Weekly Reflex Davis Journal newspaper:

Construction of southbound lanes of traffic on Interstate Highway 15 between Farmington and Layton should be completed by late October, slightly behind schedule, according to a spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation. "There will be some finishing work to do, but two-way, divided traffic will be allowed," he said. The six-mile stretch will be the final link between Salt Lake City and Ogden. Traffic has been routed along the 4-lane [northbound lanes], undivided highway since last November, but DOT officials promise divided traffic will be allowed before winter. Overpass structures, however, will not be completed until later, except the 200 North Kaysville structure which should be ready within 30 days. Shepard Lane bridge is slated for completion by the end of November and the Burton Lane overpass (shown above) should be ready next spring.

I-15 Reconstruction (1997-2001)

May 12, 1997
Construction started on I-15 reconstruction project, covering a 17-mile section of Interstate 15 through Salt Lake County. (UDOT Press Release dated April 30, 2002)

In 1997 work began on the Interstate 15 reconstruction project, completed in 2001. The reconstruction of Interstate 15 was the reason for so many changes to the railroads in downtown Salt Lake City, as the area was redeveloped as a project known as The Gateway.

The I-15 project included numerous new overpasses, bridges and interchanges. Among them were new on- and off-ramps to directly serve Salt Lake City. When I-15 was completed in the mid-1960s, the city's railroads and their rail yards were an important part of everyday business, accessing numerous and almost uncountable warehouses and businesses throughout Salt Lake City's west side. This forced the highway engineers to build overhead viaducts of great length, to move automobile traffic across the numerous tracks that bisected the city. By the late 1990s, everyday railroading had been reduced as part of everyday business in Salt Lake City, and the railroads were asked to participate in the needed changes, removing some of their inactive tracks so that the on- and off-ramps could be shortened.

July 15, 2001
I-15 reconstruction project was completed, $32 million under budget, and three months ahead of the scheduled October 15, 2001 completion date. The project included 142 bridges and 10 new interchanges, spread out over a distance of 17 miles. (UDOT Press Release dated April 30, 2002)

The first interchange to reopen was at 600 North, which opened during the week of October 24 to November 6, 1998.

In May 2001, the project was essentially completed, with both northbound and southbound lanes being opened to the public.

The total cost of the I-15 reconstruction project was reported to be $1.632 billion, compared to Boston's Central Artery/Ted Williams Tunnel Project ("The Big Dig") with a reported cost of $4.1 billion, including $867 million in cost overruns. The I-15 reconstruction project was the result of the need to expand the highway's six lanes of travel (three in each direction), with eight to ten lanes of travel (four or five in each direction), and was in response to the increased transportation needs due to Salt Lake City being named in June 1995 as the host city for the 2002 Winter Olympics, scheduled for February 2002. The schedule was accelerated from a normal seven years for a traditional design, bid, build project, to a more rapid 4.5 years for a design-build project, meaning that construction was begun on certain portions while design was not yet complete on other portions. The first designs were completed in February 1996. Due to the very large nature of the project, the contract was awarded on March 26, 1997 to a consortium of large companies under the name of Wasatch Constructors, a joint venture of Peter Kiewit Sons of Omaha, Nebraska, Granite Construction Co. of Watsonville, California, and Washington Construction Co. of Highland, California. (U.S. DOT Office of Inspector General, Audit Report, issued November 13, 2000)

The I-15 reconstruction project was notable within the civil engineering community as the first large-scale usage of expanded polystyrene foam blocks to stabilize large fills and embankments.