ST. GEORGE – The St. George City Council toured the Little Valley area Thursday and saw firsthand how much the area has grown. Little Valley has long been an area filled with farms and livestock, however, that has changed in recent years. Little Valley is the fastest growing part of St. George, with 35 new subdivisions – which encompasses nearly 600 home lots – going into the area in just the past two years.
With rapid development comes a need to upgrade previously sleepy roads that have come to life with increased traffic. Little Valley Road in particular is a candidate for improvements. Improvements to the road, which includes widening it to a 30-foot minimum and installing curb, gutter, and sidewalks in parts, are estimated to cost $740,300.
The City Council was to approve work on Little Valley Road in its Feb. 6 meeting, but ended up tabling the measure after hearing resident concerns. The council members chose to visit Little Valley the following week before approving any further roadwork.
A mishmash of farmland and pastures still exist in Little Valley and residents who practice that way of life are worried improvements to Little Valley Road may pose a safety hazard. Once completed, they fear the redone road will encourage faster speeds and pose a threat to people and livestock.
Paul Gooch, who lives on Little Valley Road, told the City Council it was like having a race track in front of his house. Some residents have recommended a part of the road be closed permanently.
Recently a segment of the road was shut down between Horseman Park Drive and Crimson Ridge Drive so the city could work on a water line there. The closure made the road somewhat quiet again, but also siphoned traffic onto the other roads, which concerned parents of children in the area who walk and ride their bikes to area schools.
Chris Beykirch said everything really comes down to the safety of the children.
“We want the confidence that our kids can go to school and not die,” Beykirch said to the council as they surveyed Little Valley. He said increased traffic onto Crimson Ridge Drive was creating a bottleneck and he has seen people nearly get hit by passing cars on a routine basis.
Since the Feb. 6 council meeting, an online petition to the City Council has been created to keep Little Valley Road open, citing various safety concerns if the road were to close.
As of Friday, Little Valley Road has been reopened to accommodate traffic related to the Parade of Homes, said Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager. Once the event is over the road will close again and the work will continue. At this juncture, closing Little Valley Road appears unlikely.
Both sides agree something needs to be done and public safety is the primary concern, Beykirch said. Gooch echoed the sentiment, and added he and others on the agricultural side want to be able to preserve their way of life without coming into conflict with their neighbors.
However, as roadwork is completed elsewhere in Little Valley, current traffic worries may end up remedying themselves.
While the immediate concern has been Little Valley Road, improvements being made to 3000 East and other area roads may help alleviate the congestion. 3000 East will connect to Mall Drive once the highly awaited bridge is completely. This will turn 3000 East into a major roadway, which will help take stress off of other roads, City Engineer Cameron Cutler said.
At full build out, 3000 East will be a 90-foot wide, five-lane roadway, Cutler said. Within a few more months, he said, connections to 2350 East and other area roads will be completed and help lessen traffic on Little Valley Road.
“It’s a timing issue,” Mortensen said.
The City Council is likely to address Little Valley Road once again in its next meeting on Feb. 20, he said.
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