Bus rapid transit system begins to take shape on campus

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By the end of 2023, Weber State University’s Bus Rapid Transit system will be finished, if all goes according to plan.

Tractors and other construction equipment are seen all over campus as a result of construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)

The idea of ​​creating such a transportation project has rebounded for about 20 years, and despite the challenges, the project is finally seeing the end of the tunnel as financial support from the Federal Transit Administration has become available and the appropriate entities have come together. reunited.

The project started in 2020 and everything has gone well so far, according to James Larson, public relations specialist for the Utah Transit Authority.

Students will be able to see the new landscape on the WSU campus when they return for the fall semester 2021 as the project takes shape.

“In September, we’ll start working from 32 to 36 and widening the route and creating that connection to Weber State,” Larson said. “Now you start to see buses and awnings and curbs falling into place. ”

Construction began in front of the Shepherd Union as an update to the BRT.
Construction began in front of the Shepherd Union as an update to the BRT.

Chad Downs, project manager with facilities management at WSU, agrees with Larson, saying bringing the BRT to this point has been a massive coordination effort.

“It’s moving forward remarkably, considering all the entities involved,” Downs said. “I think it’s amazing that it’s coming this far, and actually being carried out on campus, and the majority of the work on the central campus is underway as we speak this summer.”

A wide variety of but necessary organizations came together including UTA, WSU, Ogden City and McKay-Dee Hospital, Weber County, Wasatch Front Regional Council and many others including Ogden City businesses.

Cones line a door separating the construction from the paid lot.  (Bella Torres / The Signpost)
Cones line a door separating the building from the paid parking lot. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)

A project like this isn’t easy with the amount of coordination it takes or with COVID-19 sweeping the country and impacting not only public transportation but many daily routines and jobs as well. Even with this setback, however, the project deadlines have not changed.

“We will have three stations finalized and fully operational for the fall semester of 2022 that will become Weber State University’s new shuttle,” Larson said. “And that will transport students from the Dee Events Center to student accommodation and the center of campus.”

Buses will pick up students from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every six to eight minutes.

All sidewalks in front of the Shepherd Union are closed due to new construction.  (Bella Torres / The Signpost).
All sidewalks in front of the Shepherd Union are closed due to new construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost).

Downs said it’s one thing when a project like this is in the planning stages, but it’s a whole different story on the construction side. Downs is particularly happy to see the progress and said COVID-19 has had a positive impact by allowing more construction on campus than originally planned.

The project has gone smoothly and the deadline for this project to be completed in 2023 is realistic, according to Downs and Larson. However, there is no exact month or date for the official ribbon cutting.

“There is a web page via UTA that anyone can check on on the progress of the BRT project, and students can search for signs around campus for more information,” Downs said.

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