LITTLE COTTONWOOD CANYON — In a statement on Tuesday, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) said that after receiving more than 14,000 comments, “further evaluation and agency coordination” is required to finalize the Little Cottonwood Canyon (LCC) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
The department said to expect the Final EIS to be released this summer, which will include responses to the public comments.
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“UDOT will issue a separate Record of Decision (ROD) that will identify the final selected alternative for implementation, anticipated to occur in the winter of 2022,” the update says.
The ROD is the final decision to environmentally clean an action for implementation.
UDOT released its Draft EIS for S.R. 210 in LCC on June 25, which identified two preferred alternatives — enhanced bus service in an added lane or a gondola that would become the world’s longest if constructed.
The Gondola Works Coalition has been formed to endorse the gondola option. Alta, Snowbird, and Ski Utah are listed as endorsers of the project.
The group has said that the issue is a generational challenge and that “57% of the 9 miles of SR 210 is threatened by 64 avalanche paths,” citing the gondola’s avalanche safety.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has said she favors some form of enhanced bus service, similar to the sentiments expressed by the Wasatch Backcountry Alliance and the Salt Lake Climber’s Alliance.
UDOT cut down over 100 options to the two currently proposed.
UDOT’s official objective:
To identify a single preferred alternative in the Final EIS, the State of Utah and UDOT will consider 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. The state and UDOT will also consider an alternative’s environmental impacts, which includes impacts to water quality, air quality, and visual and noise impacts, among others. Additionally, public input from the Draft EIS comment periods will inform the decision-making process.