LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON
ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) began an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in the spring of 2018 for Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) and Wasatch Boulevard in partnership with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to provide an integrated transportation system that improves the reliability, mobility and safety for residents, visitors, and commuters who use S.R. 210.
Ultimately, the partners seek to deliver transportation options that meet the needs of the community while preserving the value of the Wasatch Mountains.
Draft EIS Public Comment Period and Hearings
UDOT has identified two preferred alternatives to improve transportation in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Draft EIS, the Enhanced Bus Service in Peak-Period Shoulder Lane as the alternative that best improves mobility and the Gondola Alternative B (base station from La Caille) as the alternative that best improves reliability.
In addition to the preliminary preferred alternatives, other elements have also been developed that would be combined to support each alternative. These include snow sheds (concrete structures built over the highway to keep it clear of snow in case of avalanches); mobility hubs (larger-capacity park-and-ride lots with transit service); widening and other improvements to Wasatch Boulevard; tolling or single occupancy restrictions; addressing trailhead parking and eliminating winter roadside parking above Snowbird Entry 1.
UDOT is holding a 70-day public comment period from June 25 – September 3, 2021 and held public hearings on July 13 and July 20, 2021.
Input sought by UDOT on the Draft EIS include comments on the preferred alternatives, the environmental impacts associated with each and other transportation performance considerations.
View Materials & Submit Comments
LCC Draft EIS Preferred Alternatives Overview - June 25, 2021
LCC EIS National Environmental Policy Act Process Video
PUBLIC HEARING INFORMATION
In-Person Public Hearing
July 13, 2021 4:30-8:30pm
Butler Middle School, Cottonwood Heights, UT
Little Cottonwood Draft EIS Public Hearing Recording - July 13, 2021
Virtual Public Hearing
July 20, 2021 6:00-8:30pm
Little Cottonwood Draft EIS Public Hearing Recording - July 20, 2021
Hard Copies of the Draft EIS are Available for Review at the Following Locations:
- Whitmore Library, 2197 Fort Union Boulevard, Cottonwood Heights
- Anderson-Foothill Library at 1135 S 2100 E, Salt Lake City
- Viridian West Jordan Library, 8030 S 1825 W, West Jordan
- Cottonwood Heights City Building at 2277 Bengal Blvd, Cottonwood Heights
- Utah Department of Transportation, 4501 South 2700 West, Salt Lake City
STUDY AREA MAP
STUDY PROCESS AND TIMELINE
Public Comment Period – March 9: May 4, 2018
REVISED PUBLIC SCOPING
Public Comment Period – March 5 - June 14, 2019
DRAFT PURPOSE AND NEED AND ALTERNATIVE SCREENING CRITERIA
Public Comment Period – June 8 - July 10, 2020
ALTERNATIVES DEVELOPMENT AND REFINEMENT
Virtual Public Hearing – July 20, 2021
Public Comment Period – June 25 - September 3, 2021
During the current public comment period for the Draft EIS, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has received requests to extend the length of the current review and comment period from 45 days, to either 60 days or 90 days. The public review period established by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a Draft EIS is a minimum of 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. The Federal Highway Administration establishes a maximum 60-day comment period but does allow the lead agency (in this case, UDOT) to extend and exceed the comment period for good cause.
Based on the review of comments thus far and these considerations, UDOT has decided to extend the comment period to 70 days to allow for a more thorough review of the Draft EIS. The comment period will now end on Friday September 3, 2021.
UDOT has identified two preferred alternatives to improve transportation in Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Draft EIS. In the Final EIS, UDOT will identify a single preferred alternative.
To identify the preferred alternatives, UDOT considered an alternative’s ability to substantially improve transportation-related safety, reliability, and mobility for all users on S.R. 210 from Fort Union Boulevard through the town of Alta. UDOT also considered an alternative’s environmental impacts, which includes water quality, air quality, and visual and noise impacts, among others. Based on the technical analysis conducted, UDOT identified the Enhanced Bus Service in Peak-Period Shoulder Lane as the alternative that best improves mobility and the Gondola Alternative B (base station from La Caille) as the alternative that best improves reliability.
The Enhanced Bus Service in Peak-Period Shoulder Lane alternative offers bus-only shoulder lanes on S.R. 210 to be used during peak travel times. With this alternative, bus service is removed from congestion and able to pass slower moving traffic in the general purpose lane, providing direct service to each destination. Those using the bus service would have the option of parking at either the gravel pit mobility hub (located at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon) or at 9400 S and Highland, with a bus departing every 5 minutes. Of the alternatives examined, this alternative offers the fastest travel time, the second lowest cost and when not in use, the shoulder lanes could become pedestrian and cyclist lanes.
The Gondola B alternative would construct a base station near the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon (from La Caille) and offer direct service to each destination. Each gondola would hold up to 35 people and travelers could expect a cabin to arrive every two minutes. The Gondola base station includes 1,500 parking spaces, reducing the need for passengers to use bus service from the mobility hubs. The gondola alternative can operate independently of S.R. 210, avoiding delays related to snow removal, avalanche mitigation and traffic. This alternative has the highest visual impacts but low impacts to wildlife movement, climbing boulders and the watershed compared to the other action alternatives.
In addition to the preliminary preferred alternatives, other elements have also been developed that would be combined to support each alternative. These include snow sheds (concrete structures built over the highway to keep it clear of snow in case of avalanches); mobility hubs (larger-capacity park-and-ride lots with transit service); widening and other improvements to Wasatch Boulevard; tolling or single occupancy restrictions; addressing trailhead parking and eliminating winter roadside parking above Snowbird Entry 1. Additional information on the preferred alternatives and these elements can be reviewed in the Draft EIS section.
UDOT will seek public comment on the preferred alternatives, the environmental impacts associated with each, and the mobility and reliability considerations. By selecting two alternatives that differ in alignment, impacts, and mode; UDOT is providing the public an opportunity to review and comment on these two differing considerations.
As a reminder, commenting on the Draft EIS is not a vote on an alternative or action, but an opportunity to provide the project team with input regarding the environmental analysis or other considerations that UDOT should consider in making a final decision. View this video for more information on the NEPA process.
UDOT held a public open house and hearings to review the alternatives and answer questions during the open house portion. Recordings of the July 13 in-person public hearing and the July 20 virtual public hearing are posted on the top of the page and on the project Facebook Group and UDOT Cottonwoods Instagram feed.
For more information on the transportation planning efforts underway on S.R. 210 and in Little Cottonwood Canyon or to share your ideas, please send the project team an email, give us a call or join the Facebook Group.