Traffic congestion has been a way of life for several years in West Lehi. As the City and State grapple with solutions and future plans, extending Clubhouse Drive has been the most controversial proposed change in Lehi’s Master Transportation plan.
The battle started in 2018 when Lehi City was set to receive $9 million in funding to build the extension but hit a roadblock when Thanksgiving Point area residents pushed back, citing concerns for increased traffic in their neighborhood and worries about the viability of the golf course if a road was placed through it. The funding was eventually pulled, and the City forfeited the $9 million.
In 2022, the project was resurrected. The State Legislature took over jurisdiction of the road and approved funding to study environmental issues and the feasibility of the Clubhouse extension. The study is currently underway.
Amid the study, City staff have advised the City Council that the City should add the Clubhouse extension to the Master Transportation Plan to express support for the project and offer recommendations for the route that is best for Lehi and its residents. That support was the stated reason for the agenda item on Tuesday, October 24.
“There is a misunderstanding on what this is [the agenda item]. Lehi City has been working for about six years with Hales Engineering, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT), and Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) about transportation issues that affect our community. We look out west, and we’ve already seen population projections of 200,000 to 250,000 people, with the potential to even grow [more],” said Mayor Mark Johnson.
“The line on the map isn’t a fixed line on the map. We designate corridors on our Master Transportation Plan in areas where we think they will be built. That shows our support for future studies… There will be multiple opportunities to participate in UDOT’S studies, and that’s the time to be engaged,” continued Johnson before taking public comment on the project.
Ryan Hales of Hales Engineering, whom the city contracts for most of its traffic studies and consulting, gave a presentation during the discussion. Hales said that the Clubhouse Drive extension is essential for future traffic needs. He also noted that the extension is one of six planned east-west corridor improvements needed to move traffic from I15 to Saratoga Springs and Eagle Mountain. The six projects included in the 2050 outlook plan are:
-The 2100 North Freeway
-Pony Express Highway
-Porter Rockwell Boulevard
-A new Point of the Mountain Connector
-Clubhouse Drive Extension
The Hardman Family and their attorneys dominated public comment as the proposed extension goes through their property on the west side of Lehi. They are opposed to the project as they have recently submitted a 67-unit subdivision project on the area of the proposed route from across the Jordan River to Redwood Road.
“We understand the six east-west corridors are needed, but this process is considerably disruptive to landowners in the area to plan their own financial futures. The way this line is currently drawn will cause you significant legal troubles, and I urge you to reconsider it,” said Travis Walter, the Hardman Family attorney.
Other public comments included a representative from neighboring Camp Williams who reminded the City Council that state law would require their support of the route as it is within the protected zone of their property.
After hearing public comment and before seeking a motion from the City Council, Mayor Johnson said, “We have to make difficult decisions. We can’t always make friends in the process; we can’t always win votes as elected officials. I learned that a long time ago, but we have to be rational and responsible to protect this City’s future.”
Councilwoman Katie Koivisto, an outspoken opponent of the extension for many years, motioned to table the agenda item and delay any action, expressing her belief that the 2100 North Freeway project will be sufficient for traffic mitigation and the extension will not be needed. The motion failed.
Councilman Chris Condie then motioned to approve the Master Transportation Plan update but with a route change off of the Hardman property and re-route it to the existing 3600 W and 2700 North roads. The Council agreed and voted 3-1, with Koivisto dissenting. Although the Council expressed its desired route, the official decision is ultimately in the hands of UDOT and the Utah State Legislature.
“I wholeheartedly disagree and am very disappointed with how the Council voted on this. This decision will have catastrophic effects on the neighboring parcels around it and the families that live there. Mark my words, this will split, divide, and destroy Holbrook Farms as we know it,” said Koivisto at the conclusion of the meeting.