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Is a roundabout in the future for U.S. 89 in Manti

 

By Robert Stevens 

Managing editor

9-24-2020

 

MANTI—The Manti City Council has talked about constructing a roundabout on U.S. 89 in front of the Manti LDS Temple, but city leadership said it’s far from a sure thing.

At a Manti City public hearing concerning residential zoning on Wednesday, Sept. 16, the topic of the roundabout was brought up.

Manti City Mayor Korry Soper said they were asked to consider the idea by UDOT, but there was no immediate timetable on the project.

“There are a lot of studies that show a roundabout handles the traffic better,” Soper said. “I’m not arguing one way or the other.”

Soper said the city is projecting growth in traffic on the north end of town due to various factors, such as the new sports complex, the Temple and the high school. A roundabout could potentially help to manage that growth in traffic.

“Before we would accept any proposal like that, we would put it up before the city and the citizens,” he added. “It’s not going to happen next spring, but before it does happen, we’ll certainly have meetings to discuss it.”

Manti City Manager Kent Barton reinforced the fact that the roundabout is still only a concept and not a concrete plan, but that there had been discussions between Manti City and UDOT over the idea.

“There’s been discussions with UDOT on how to make that intersection safer in time as we grow, something that would slow the speed,” Barton said. “Before anything would happen on that there would be a public meeting. UDOT would be there and we would talk about different options, and that a roundabout may not be the best option for that area.”

According to Kevin Kitchen, UDOT Region 4 communications director, the roundabout is a possible project they are looking at in the future.

“We have spoken with Manti City about it and our traffic and safety group has taken a look at it,” Kitchen said. “They see some real benefits that could come from it.”

A number of improvements to U.S. 89 in the area of the proposed roundabout have been put in over the last couple years. The stretch of highway between Manti and Ephraim was widened and resurfaced, and the long curve as you enter Manti headed south was also improved. The roundabout would, in effect, be another upgrade to that area, Kitchen said, helping to direct traffic smoothly from the two lanes in each direction.

Kitchen said the project has a ways to go in the preliminary stages before moving forward. Before the proposed project could be started, a traffic study would need to be done. The study would determine how much traffic volume comes through, which directions are most often used for turning, average traffic speed and other important factors.