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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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HPER construction to cause detours

By Rita Totten

It usually takes Whitney Allison, a freshman in exercise and sport science, about 20 minutes to walk from her dorm to her classes on lower campus. But come Monday, Allison said she will have to leave her room even earlier because of the closure of the east end of HPER Highway.

In the first phase of a series of construction projects, the east portion of HPER highway, the stretch of pavement connecting upper campus to lower campus, will be closed for two months so crews can redo the utility lines that run down the highway, said Tom Christensen, manager of Campus Design and Construction. High-temperature water lines buried along the 1,600-foot highway are failing and the aging pipes have started to corrode. The lines were supposed to last for 20 years and have been in the ground for 40 years, Christensen said.

Christensen said the lines had failed in multiple places, causing weak spots that leaked 30,000 gallons of water a day from the high-temperature system. Because of pipe corrosion, Campus Design and Construction sought emergency funding to repair the lines.

Construction crews will install a tunnel that will house the new lines to serve the planned Utah Science Technology and Research Initiative facilities. The lines underneath HPER will also accommodate any other new buildings planned to be constructed in the area.

The new tunnel will eliminate the need to directly bury the lines in the dirt, Christensen said.

“This is something we should have done a long time ago,” he said.
But students still aren’t happy about it.

Hannah Winkelman, an undeclared freshman, said the closure will be a huge inconvenience to all students, especially cyclists and skateboarders who use the highway to get to class.

“I guess we’re all going to have to find alternative routes,” she said.

Winkelman said she predicts more people will rely on campus shuttles to get down to lower campus and worries this means buses will be more crowded than usual.

The construction will put pedestrians out of the way by a couple hundred feet, Christensen said. People are being asked to walk around the soccer field when heading west down to lower campus. North and south passages crossing the area under construction will remain intact.

Lower portions of the highway will be under construction until mid-March and the middle portion will be finished in June. A complete landscape and sidewalk reinstallation will occur after all other construction is completed. The east end of HPER Highway is expected to be reopened around Dec. 1.

Christensen recognized that the upper section would be most inconvenient because so many students use it everyday and said that this portion of work is part of a major campus-wide construction project.

“Certain things have to happen at certain times,” Christensen said.

he near future, the entire HPER mall will be disrupted for construction on the utility lines. Campus Design and Construction said it would be more beneficial to start construction from the east end of HPER, Christensen said.

The utility lines provide hot water and heat to buildings across campus. Buildings’ heat or water will not be affected during this phase of the construction. However, there will be a short shut-down in the future sometime when the weather is nicer and heating is not an issue, Christensen said.

[email protected]

Richard Payson

Student use Hyper Highway to get to and from class. Construction will soon cause detours on this path.

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