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New Davis County highway already facing skepticism following grand opening

Posted at 4:11 PM, Jan 08, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-08 19:32:40-05

FARMINGTON, Utah — Safety concerns and other issues are already being raised about the new West Davis Highway that opened to big fanfare in Davis County over the weekend.

A West Jordan woman says she and her family were heading home from Lagoon Amusement Park earlier this year when their car was hit by debris from an under-construction overpass.

"We were driving under it and all of a sudden we heard this big crash and then air just started blowing into our car and we were very confused for a second, and then we realized it was our sun roof," explained Breauna Poulson.

Poulson was with her husband and three young sons in August when the incident occurred. 

"We pulled off the next exit when we could and we called for UHP to come so we could file a report right when it happened," she explained.

Two hours later, Poulson said a trooper arrived, but he was unable to find the actual debris that caused their sunroof to shatter.

"But it happened," she insists. "As soon as we were underneath it, it came right down on our sunroof. It scared my whole family. All my kids were crying, because it was such a loud noise.

"Sounded like we got hit or something. It was very scary for all of us."

Duct tape is currently being used as a fix until the family finds a way to get the sunroof repaired. Poulson is grateful no one was hurt, but the Utah Department of Transportation denied the family's claim due to a lack of evidence.

"We just don’t have the means to fix it ourselves right now," she said Monday.

A UDOT spokesperson said they will reach out to the family and take another look.

"...if this is our responsibility we will definitely take care of it," said John Gleason with UDOT.
The Poulson's aren't the only ones not enamored by the new highway.

"Everything is made worse by a freeway safety, pollution, the travel times. It does not help. You think it does, but they’re not looking at the whole picture," said Ben Wood with Sweet Streets, a Utah advocacy group.

Sweet Streets has issued a warning about the West Davis Highway project and is urging Utahns to be more skeptical.

"You’re maybe going to get a year or two of 15 minutes saved, afterwards traffic’s going to be worse than it’s ever been," Wood believes. "At the same time, pollution’s going to be worse. Death and injury is going to be worse. The economy’s going to crater.

"These freeways decimate neighborhoods."

Wood says major highways like are said to be built in response to growing population, but will actually cause the population to grow even further, a statement Gleason refutes.

 "All of these people who might be living close to their jobs thinking, 'Oh, we’re going to move to West Davis. I can get to Salt Lake in 45 minutes,' and that’s true today, not going to be true tomorrow," Wood implored.

Gleason told FOX 13 New that UDOT has already heard from many people who are enjoying the benefits of the new roadway, new trail and shortened commute times.