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Davis Journal

U.S. 89 interchange at Antelope Drive opens

Nov 07, 2022 02:20PM ● By Becky Ginos

Emergency vehicles cross over the new U.S. 89 interchange on Antelope Drive. It connects neighborhoods on the east and west of 89. Photo by Becky Ginos

LAYTON—It was a big day for Layton City as the new U.S. 89 interchange at Antelope Drive opened to traffic Tuesday morning. The new interchange connects neighborhoods on the east and west of U.S. 89 and makes it easier for drivers to enter, exit or cross the highway. The $565 million project is part of the Utah Department of Transportation’s (UDOT) ongoing U.S. 89 reconstruction in eastern Davis County.

“There’s nothing more exciting than to see that open sign behind me,” said Senate President Stuart Adams. “I’ve lived in Layton my entire life.”

Adams said he remembers when he was in high school he had a friend who lived on the east side and they went for a ride. “I had a Plymouth Valiant and it was full of kids. We were stuffed into it. I thought I was a good driver but I turned east on Gentile and came to 89. I turned left on 89 and lost total control. We were spinning on 89. I could see cars going by. Eventually we came to a stop.”

Much later, Adams was serving on the Layton Planning Commission when potential improvements to Hwy 89 came up. “My good friend, Bob Stevenson, was on the city council,” he said. “Bob wanted me to run for city council. I didn’t want to run because that was not in my wheelhouse. Bob reminded me of that little event in high school and said a lot of people have been killed on 89. There were no lights. He said, ‘I’m not worried about you, I'm worried about our kids.’ So I ran.”

This has been a long time coming, said Rep. Steve Handy. “I spent my life driving on 89 back and forth to Salt Lake. A lot of people have lost their lives here. I hope this will make that decline dramatically. It’s a big day. It will improve the quality of life.”

The interchange brings connectivity to the city, said Layton Mayor Joy Petro. “We’re no longer dividing the city with what has been a dangerous road. I see the value of a pedestrian crossing that connects to trails and keeps the city young and active.”

It’s fun to see the city grow and mature, she said. “The residents are so excited.”

There’s a lot going on in Davis County, said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “This is a major opening. It is for all users, pedestrians, bicyclists and for connecting communities.”

When you bring people together and trust contractors, engineers and consultants big hard things happen, he said. “It’s easy to complain but it’s hard to build.”

This is a milestone for this new connection between the east and west, Braceras said. “This is a big deal for the community.”

Originally the design had 89 going up and over, he said. “There’s a big aqueduct and 150 miles of existing utilities but a community group got involved and we began a conversation. We wanted to listen and understand what they wanted and how we could do it and meet the budget.”

Braceras said it was the mid-90s when he started the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for this project. “The process work can be painful. It takes a certain amount of tenacity to get these projects done.”

“This is a day residents have been waiting for,” Petro said. “This takes care of the problem of increased traffic. We have to take care of the people. I don’t want any road to divide us.”λ