During the July 12 regular city council meeting, Moab City Engineer Chuck Williams gave updates on six traffic projects currently underway. 

“I thought, given the increase of costs throughout the last year that we’ve all seen in our lives, it’d be good to talk about some of these [projects] tonight,” Williams said. 

One of the city’s projects is outside the budget: the proposed roundabout at the intersection of 100 West and 400 North, on the northeast corner of Swanny City Park. Rising costs have put the estimated project total at $2 million—in 2017, the project was estimated at $1.1 million. The project is funded largely by the Federal Highway Administration, which agreed to pay a total of $1.5 million: that puts the city’s costs at an additional $421,671, Williams said. 

“I know it’s not good news, it’s just a sign of the times,” he said. 

The city could terminate the project contract, but it would be liable to pay $150,000—the other option would be to go to bid. City council members will decide what to do at a future meeting. 

The Moab Area Transit project, which plans to bring public transportation to Moab in the form of vans, has been in the works for years; currently, it’s at the stage where the city is advertising a request for proposals. However, it’s hit a snag: the Utah Department of Transportation is rebuilding its transit group—“our luck,” Williams said—which means the Moab Area Transit’s request for proposals is being re-reviewed by UDOT attorneys. The deadline for proposals is now August 4, and could stretch longer, depending on how long the attorney review takes, Williams said. 

The Emma Boulevard dispersed parking project has nearly finalized plans: city staff are reviewing the 100% draft plans this week. The project will add around 50 new parking stalls along Emma Boulevard, the road behind Poison Spider Bicycles. 

The city has another dispersed parking project in the works: adding stalls in the downtown area. Plans are expected to be finalized in the fall, Williams said, and the city will take on two to three streets at a time. 

Williams anticipates that the 400 East bridge widening project will go to bid in September or October: design plans are 60% complete, and the project is currently within its budget. 

And finally, the Unified Transportation Master Plan is nearly finalized. The newest aspect of the master plan is a “vision zero goal,” which could make the City of Moab eligible to apply for more federal funding under a bipartisan infrastructure law. The vision zero goal means the city would aim to have zero road accidents by maximizing road safety. 

According to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety office, in 2021, there were 229 vehicle crashes in Moab. Of those, 71 resulted in injuries, and one resulted in fatalities. Most of the crashes were “holiday-related,” according to the data; the next highest attribution was “older driver involved,” followed by “distraction-related.” 2021 saw the highest number of crashes ever and one of the largest increases from the past year; in 2020, there were 189 crashes, and in 2019, 161. There have been 95 crashes in Moab so far in 2022. 

Council members agreed that the vision zero goal seemed like a good thing. The final version of the plan will come before the council for approval at its next meeting on July 26.