Interstate 215 (Utah)
|Maintained by UDOT|
|Length:||28.946 mi (46.584 km)|
|Existed:||1963 – present|
|Beltway around Salt Lake City|
|CCW end:||I-80 in Salt Lake City|
| SR-152 in Cottonwood Heights
I-15 in Murray
SR 201 in West Valley City
I-80 in Salt Lake City
SR 67 in North Salt Lake
|CW end:||I-15 in North Salt Lake|
Interstate 215 (I-215), also known locally as the belt route or two-fifteen, is an auxiliary interstate in the U.S. state of Utah that forms a 270-degree loop around Salt Lake City and many of its suburbs. The route begins at the mouth of Parley's Canyon at the junction of I-80 and heads south through the edge of the Salt Lake City metropolitan area's eastern suburbs of Millcreek, Holladay, and Cottonwood Heights. It continues west through Murray before turning north again, passing through the city's first-ring western suburbs of Taylorsville and West Valley City. It then enters North Salt Lake and Davis County for a short distance before defaulting onto I-15.
The interstate was proposed in the mid-1950s, along with the I-15 and I-80 through Salt Lake City. At the time, only the western portion of the belt route was given to I-215. The eastern portion of the belt route was designated Interstate 415. However, the I-415 designation was scrapped to provide a single route number for the entire route in 1969, with the I-215 designation covering the complete belt route. The freeway was constructed in segments, beginning with a section completed in 1963 from Redwood Road in North Salt Lake to 2100 North near the airport. Originally planned to be complete in the mid-1970s, challenges from citizens' groups over environmental impact statements led to the completion of the last section of I-215 in 1989 between 6200 South in Knudsen's Corner and 4500 South in Holladay.
I-215 begins at an interchange at the mouth of Parley's Canyon at the southeast corner of Salt Lake City that connects I-80, Foothill Drive (State Route 186, or SR-186) and Parleys Way. At this point, I-215 splits into three legs, connecting I-80 toward Salt Lake City, Foothill Drive and Parleys Way, and I-80 through Parley's Canyon. From here, the freeway travels southeast along the Salt Lake Valley's east bench with three lanes in each direction. The route enters a residential area of East Millcreek and turns south. Then, the first exit appears, an incomplete diamond interchange with 3300 South (SR-171) that is missing an off-ramp from northbound I-215. Past this interchange, an on-ramp connects 3800 South to northbound I-215. A block further south is a partial interchange lacking an off-ramp from northbound I-215 onto 3900 South. Entering Holladay, I-215 is heading south but soon turns southwest. An off-ramp here allows northbound motorists to connect to Wasatch Boulevard. However, this exit is signed as 3900 South and 3300 South because of the incomplete interchanges on both roads. Past an interchange at 4500 South (SR-266) that serves southbound I-215, the road turns south again and begins descending toward Knudsen's Corner and Cottonwood Heights. At this point, the southbound lanes are lower than the parallel northbound lanes. The belt route flattens out upon reaching an interchange at 6200 South at Knudsen's Corner.
As the freeway enters Cottonwood Heights, it turns west and becomes a sunken freeway. Then, it reaches an interchange at 2000 East (SR-152) This interchange features a grade-separated ramp from northbound 2000 East to eastbound I-215. Past this junction, another interchange at Union Park Avenue appears. Another grade-separated ramp from Union Park Avenue is present. The road enters Murray as an interchange serving westbound motorists connects 280 East and State Street (U.S. Route 89, or US-89). Eastbound travelers connect to State Street further west at a separate exit. The road turns northwest for a short time to approach a junction at I-15. Approaching the interchange, the route gains two lanes and reverts to a ground-level freeway. The freeway crosses I-15 and loses one lane as it enters Taylorsville and curves to the northwest, crossing the Jordan River in the process. Right before a partial cloverleaf interchange at Redwood Road (SR-68) the route turns west one final time before turning north after the interchange. The freeway continues north and has another partial cloverleaf interchange at 4700 South (SR-266). The route enters the populous West Valley City suburb and encounters 3500 South (SR-171), where its eastbound lanes have a grade-separated ramp to northbound I-215. The road turns northeast and enters an industrial area of western Salt Lake City. After reaching a cloverleaf interchange at SR-201, the route turns north again. Beyond a single-point urban interchange at California Avenue, the freeway continues north.
A partial stack interchange involving I-80, Redwood Road, and the access road to Salt Lake City International Airport is next. The freeway loses one lane in each direction as the interstate passes the airport to the east. Two diamond interchanges at 700 North and 2100 North occur as the freeway approaches Davis County. Past 2100 North, the freeway enters rural Salt Lake County, and the road curves to the northwest. An interchange at Legacy Parkway gives northbound I-215 motorists and southbound Legacy Parkway motorists their respective connections. The road turns east and loses one lane in each direction. There is a diamond interchange at SR-68 before the road defaults onto northbound I-15 south of North Salt Lake.
A belt route around Salt Lake City was first proposed in 1955, with the Utah Highway Department (the predecessor to the present-day Utah Department of Transportation) holding hearings concerning construction beginning in early 1958. The southeast quadrant of the route was originally placed from a junction at proposed I-15 in Murray northeasterly through Murray and Holladay, eventually reaching the east bench at 3900 South. From there, it would have run north toward the mouth of Parley's Canyon at proposed I-80 (at the time US-40). Almost immediately, this plan was met with opposition among local residents in the area. The proposed route would have bisected the primarily residential Holladay suburb, as well as the southern portion of Murray. After more than two years of hearings and widespread opposition from residents, the Highway Department released their proposed routing in June 1960, which placed the southeast quadrant where it runs today. While quelling criticism from some, others remained in opposition, saying the route was still too intrusive along residential areas. The western quadrant was also admonished for being placed to close to other major arterials. In November 1963, a small, two-lane portion of the northwest quadrant of the belt route opened from Redwood Road (SR-68) in Davis County west and south to 2100 North, north of the Salt Lake City International Airport.  This portion of road was extended east to I-15 in North Salt Lake and upgraded to freeway standards by 1969.
Construction of the southeast quadrant from I-80 (at the time replacing US-40) at Parley's Canyon to 4600 South in Holladay began in mid-1965. This involved realigning Wasatch Boulevard to parallel the route and truncating that road at 3300 South. Prior to this, Wasatch Boulevard connected to US-40. The section from I-80 to 3300 South opened by January 1967, with the portion of roadway from 3300 South to 4500 South opening in November 1969.
By 1973, construction was progressing on the western quadrant between I-15 in Murray and SR-201 (at the time US-40A/US-50A). Land acquisition was also taking place for the rest of the southeastern quadrant between 300 East in Murray and 4600 South in Holladay. However, a citizens' group named Cottonwood Inc. halted right-of-way acquirements due to the lack of an environmental impact statement (EIS). Also controversial was a proposed cloverleaf interchange at 2000 East. By mid-1975, an EIS was released with four main alternatives: a no-build alternative which would leave a gap in the southeast quadrant, building the road along the modern-day path (at about 6400 South), moving the southern portion southwest through Fort Union and Midvale to 7200 South, or extending the eastern portion further south to Sandy and then west along 9000 South. Cottonwood Inc. filed a lawsuit challenging the EIS. Meanwhile, I-215 from SR-201 in the western quadrant to 280 East in Murray opened in November 1976.
After 1976, gaps in the belt route were present from 2100 North near the airport to SR-201 and from State Street in Murray to 4600 South in Holladay. The first step in completing the gap was taken in June 1979, when construction of the interstate from State Street to 700 East began. This was followed by the Cottonwood Inc. lawsuit being awarded in favor of UDOT in November 1979. In July 1985, the route from 280 East to Union Park Avenue was completed. At the time, this portion of road was the most expensive in the state in terms of cost per mile, due to the road being depressed below surrounding neighborhoods. The next section to open was from 2100 North south to I-80 in 1987. This was followed by a section between Union Park Avenue and 2000 East, opened in November 1987, which was also built as a sunken freeway. The western quadrant of the freeway was completed in October 1988, closing the gap between SR-201 and I-80 (however, the California Avenue interchange wasn't opened until mid-1989). In August 1989, the road from 2000 East to 6200 South was finished, and the belt route was completed with the opening of freeway between 4500 South and 6200 South in October 1989.
Since 1989, the only major modifications that have occurred on the belt route have consisted of the rebuilding of the southern I-15 interchange in 2001, widening from six to eight lanes from 4700 South in Taylorsville to I-15 in Murray in 2004, and the addition of an interchange at Legacy Parkway in 2008. The 3300 South and 4500 South overpasses were rebuilt as well, in 2008 and 2007 respectively.
As part of the original proposal of a belt route through Salt Lake City, the southeastern quadrant received the designation of I-415. To maintain continuity in the belt route, the 415 number was replaced in favor of the I-215 designation covering the entire route in 1969.
||Salt Lake City||0.00||0.00||I-80 west – Reno||CCW exit, CW entrance|
|Millcreek Township||1.061||1.708||1||SR-186 west (Foothill Drive) / Parleys Way west||CCW exit, CW entrance|
|1.466||2.359||2||I-80 east – Park City, Cheyenne||No CW exit|
|1.701||2.737||3||SR 171 (3300 South) / Wasatch Boulevard||No CCW exit|
|2.615||4.208||4||3900 South, 3300 South (Wasatch Boulevard)|
|Holladay||3.491||5.618||5||SR 266 (4500 South)||CW exit and entrance|
|Holladay / Cottonwood Heights||6.080||9.785||6||SR 190 (6200 South) / 3000 East – Ski areas|
|7.481||12.040||8||SR 152 (2000 East)|
|Cottonwood Heights||9.076||14.606||9||Union Park Avenue|
|Murray||10.205||16.423||10||280 East||CW exit and entrance|
|10.646||17.133||11||US-89 (State Street)||CCW exit and entrance|
|11.256||18.115||12||I-15 – Las Vegas, Salt Lake City|
|Taylorsville||13.288||21.385||13||SR 68 (Redwood Road)|
|15.258||24.555||15||SR 266 (4700 South) – Taylorsville|
|West Valley City||17.351–
|18||SR 171 (3500 South) – Maverik Center, West Valley City||Signed as exits 18A, 18B CW|
|Salt Lake City||19.232–
|20||SR 201 – Magna|
|21.764||35.026||22||I-80 / Redwood Road (SR-68) – Cheyenne, Reno, Airport||Signed as exits 22A (westbound I-80) and 22B (eastbound I-80) CCW|
|26.701||42.971||26||SR 67 (Legacy Parkway)||CW entrance, CCW exit|
||North Salt Lake||27.115||43.637||27||SR 68 (Redwood Road)|
|28.946||46.584||I-15||CW exit, CCW entrance|
|1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi
- "Interstate 215 Reference" (PDF). Utah Department of Transportation. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-30.
- Boal, Jed; Giauque, Marc (2008-07-09). "Morning accident has some questioning if semi truck ban is needed". KSL.com. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- Google Inc. Google Maps – Interstate 215 Overview (Map). Cartography by Google, Inc. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=salt+lake+city,+ut&ie=UTF8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ll=40.736332,-111.86554&spn=0.215398,0.703125&z=11. Retrieved 2008-08-10.
- Peterson, Corey (23 July 1980), "I-215 Belt Route – 30 years from conception to completion?", Deseret News: 2H, retrieved 6 November 2010
- "Compromise Plan On Belt Route Gets Area Support At Surprise Unveiling", Deseret News, 9 June 1960: 1B, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Ellis, Dexter (28 June 1960), "Hot Protests Greet 'Belt' Plan At Olympus High School Meet", Deseret News: 1B, retrieved 6 November 2010
- "Proposed Belt Route Draws Farm Queries", Deseret News, 20 January 1959: A5, retrieved 6 November 2010
- "Ribbon Cutting Opens Section of Belt Route", Deseret News, 20 November 1963: 1B, retrieved 6 November 2010
- United States Department of Agriculture. Historic Aerials website (Map) (1965 ed.). http://www.historicaerials.com/aerials.php?scale=5.90178383123315E-06&lat=40.8338835677001&lon=-111.935744585967&year=1965. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
- "National Bridge Inventory". Nationalbridges.com. 2009. Retrieved 24 January 2011.[dead link]
- Utah Department of Transportation. Salt Lake Area Interstate System (Map) (1967 ed.).
- Wirsing, Whit (1 June 1973), "Residents oppose belt route plan", Deseret News: B1, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Dean, Suzanne (18 July 1975), "Here's summary on belt route impact issues", Deseret News: B1, retrieved 6 November 2010[dead link]
- "Work begins on segment of belt route", Deseret News, 4 June 1979: 12A, retrieved 6 November 2010[dead link]
- "Behind schedule but finished by July", Deseret News, 29 April 1985: B1, retrieved 6 November 2010
- "I-80 on-ramp near airport open to traffic", Deseret News, 30 July 1987: G25, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Spangler, Jerry (6 November 1987), "I-215 now stretches a little further", Deseret News: B1, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Riley Roche, Lisa (30 September 1988), "Delay in opening I-215 interchange questioned", Deseret News: B2, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Thompson, Jan (18 October 1989), "I-215 belt route's finished – finally", Deseret News: B1, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Wasatch Front Regional Council 2030 Transportation Plan, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Dougherty, Joseph (14 September 2008), "'The Legacy Parkway is done' — and it's open to commuters", Deseret News, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Raymond, Arthur (18 August 2008), "I-80 reopens ahead of schedule", Deseret News, retrieved 6 November 2010
- Warburton, Nicole (28 September 2007), "'The Legacy Parkway is done' — and it's open to commuters", Deseret News, retrieved 6 November 2010
- "SR-215 History" (PDF). State Road Commission of Utah. 1968-10-14. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
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