When Sugar House area business owners were informed that Highland Drive would close north of 2100 South this fall for a long-awaited curb and gutter project, the community uttered a collective “not now.”
“If the whole street was closed, it would be worse than COVID,” said Pam Tedersen, owner of the Central Book Exchange. The project has been on Salt Lake City’s to-do list for the last five years and was originally requested by area business owners. The project aims to improve some drainage issues by replacing sections of curb and gutter in addition to improving some drive approaches.
“Our goal was to get the improvements done this fall so when the winter season comes, we wouldn’t experience drainage issues anymore,” said Adán Carrillo, Transportation Engagement Manager for Salt Lake City.
“This project really needs to be done, but the timing — are you kidding me? The timing was terrible,” said Tedersen.
The project would not only force lane closures, but would also impact foot traffic and access to parking lots, and a business community still feeling the negative economic impact of Covid wasn’t going to have it.
Local Sugar House area businesses banded together and made a formal request that the city delay the repair and the city listened. “When we communicated with the businesses, they wanted us to put a hold on the project, giving them enough time to sort of recoup from the pandemic,” said Carrillo.
The city decided to postpone the project until spring. “We really want to make sure we do the right thing. We listened to their concerns, both the business and the community, and felt pretty good about postponing it,” said Carrillo.
Carrillo noted that this is the first of two projects slated for 1100 East. There are plans to totally reconstruct 1100 East from 900 South to Warnock Avenue in 2023. This will be a much more significant project and it will replace sewer drains, water lines, and upgrade other infrastructure, essentially reconstructing the road from scratch.
In the meantime, the city will gather business and community feedback on how to best tackle this project when the time comes.