Interstate 215 is the belt route for Salt Lake City in Utah. Starting at the northern end of the city at its junction with Interstate 15, it closely parallels I-15 south toward Sandy, then turns east and then north to meet Interstate 80. As such, Interstate 215 provides a bypass for both Interstates 15 and 80 while also connecting with Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC).
With 1997-July 2001 reconstruction of Interstate 15 and closures of Interstate 80 in 1998 and 1999, Interstate 215 defaulted as the main through route. With completion of those major projects, Interstate 215 returned to its role as an alternate and commuter route.
The southeastern quadrant of Interstate 215 was originally planned and signed as Interstate 415. As an effort to maintain continuity, the state of Utah opted to sign the entire Salt Lake City Belt Route as just I-215. A petition by the Utah State Department of Highways to AASHTO on October 14, 1968 was approved in 1969 to both eliminate I-415 from I-15 in south Murray northeast to I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon and extend I-215.
Interstate 415 was indeed signed as this late 1960s photo showed along Interstate 15 north. This photo was found in the Utah State Archives and scanned by AARoads Forum Member CL.
Perspective from Interstate 215 Outer Loop (northeast)
Traveling northeast on Interstate 215 (outer loop of the 270-degree belt route), this is the first guide sign for Exit 2, Junction Interstate 80 east (1.50 miles). It is located near the 3800 South on-ramp to Interstate 215 north. Interstate 215 ends at its merge onto Interstate 80 westbound 2.4 miles ahead. Photo taken 09/08/05.
Exit 2 departs Interstate 215 northbound one half mile north of Utah 171 (Exit 3). Interstate 80 ascends through Parleys Canyon from Salt Lake City to Kimball Junction. The freeway serves eastern bedroom communities located within the Park City area such as Silver Creek Junction. Interstate 80 eastbound serves the Park City and Deer Valley ski resorts on the eastern slopes of the Wasatch Range via Exit 145 (Utah 224 south). Wasatch Boulevard meanwhile parallels the northbound lanes of Interstate 215 closely between Millcreek Road and Utah 171 (3300 South). Photo taken 09/08/05.
Interstate 215 northeast reaches Exit 2, Junction Interstate 80 near Salt Lake City. Compare the age of this signbridge with the signbridge at the northern terminus along Southbound Interstate 15. Photos taken 09/08/05 and by Jeff Royston (03/24/02).
The Interstate 215 northbound mainline turns westward for its merge onto Interstate 80 west. Exit 1 links the freeway with Utah 186 west (Foothill Drive) and Parleys Way for eastern reaches of Salt Lake City. Utah 186 journeys northwest via Foothill Drive to the University of Utah campus. Parleys Way turns west to 2100 South and 2300 East. Photo taken 09/08/05.
The last Interstate 215 reassurance shield lies ahead of the mainline merge onto Interstate 80 west at Parleys Historic Park. Note the WEST cardinal direction banner for Interstate 215 (it was EAST!); it probably should say END Interstate 215/WEST Interstate 80 at this point. Photo taken 09/08/05.
Traffic from Utah 186 (Foothill Drive) eastbound merges onto Interstate 215 north ahead of its merge with Interstate 80. Interstate 80 enters the city of Salt Lake ahead and merges with Interstate 15 in five miles. Photo taken 09/08/05.
For traffic exiting onto Interstate 80 east, a trailblazer shield awaits at the top of the ramp. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
The connection from Interstate 215 north to Interstate 80 east (and from Interstate 80 west to Interstate 215 south) is served by this two-lane, undivided highway for a bit more than a mile. This configuration is partially due to the lack of space at the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Photos taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Perspective from Interstate 80 west
Descending rapidly from the high desert of Wyoming and ski resorts of Park City to the flats of Salt Lake City, Interstate 80 carries three westbound lanes as the freeway wends its way through Parleys Canyon. The interchange with Interstate 215/Salt Lake Belt Route is located at the mouth of Parleys Canyon, at the end of a long descent from Parleys Summit. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Interstate 215 is signed simply with the designation Belt Route in lieu of any control points. The freeway forms a 270 degree beltway for the city of Salt Lake. Interests to the southeastern suburbs such as Holladay, Cottonwood Heights, Midvale, and Murray should use Interstate 215 south. Travelers destined for Provo may use either Interstate 215 south or Interstate 80 west to Interstate 15 south. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Westbound Interstate 80 reaches Exit 130, Junction Southbound Interstate 215 and Westbound Utah 186 (old U.S. 40/Foothill Boulevard).The southbound beginning of Interstate 215 leaves Interstate 80 westbound at Exit 130. Posted at the ramp split is a Utah 186 button copy shield and sign for Exit 129 to Foothill Drive north and Parleys Way west. Utah 186 stems north from the ending Interstate 215 freeway, following old U.S. 40 into downtown Salt Lake City. Photos taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06) and Jeff Royston (03/24/02).
Perspective from Utah 186/Foothill Boulevard east
Now traveling east on Utah 186/Foothill Boulevard, the mighty Wasatch Range comes into view. Utah 186, which is former U.S. 40, soon connects with Interstate 80, Interstate 215, and Parleys Way. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Utah 186/Foothill Boulevard comes to an end as the road splits: the left lane connects to Interstate 215 south; the middle lane connects to Interstate 80; and the right lane connects to Parleys Way. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
After traffic for Parleys Way west departs, Utah 186/Foothill Boulevard transitions into a freeway, with a jersey barrier separating the two directions of travel. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Shortly thereafter, the left lanes transition directly onto Interstate 215 Inner Loop (south), while the right lane exits onto Interstate 80 east to Cheyenne and west to downtown Salt Lake City and Reno. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Foothill Boulevard contributes two lanes to Interstate 215 south, which also carries incoming lanes from Interstate 80 east and west. The freeway hugs the foothills of the Wasatch Front until it turns southwest toward Interstate 15 near Sandy. Photo taken by Steve Hanudel (05/16/06).
Now traveling south on Interstate 15, this mileage sign provides the distance to Exit 314 (Center Street), Exit 313 (Interstate 215 south), and Exit 312 (U.S. 89 south) to North Salt Lake. Photo taken 09/08/05.
Five lanes of Interstate 15 southbound prepare for the split with Interstate 215 (Exit 313) and U.S. 89 south (Beck Street). Interstate 215 provides a through traffic bypass for travelers bound for Provo, Las Vegas, and other points south. U.S. 89 enters the scene from Main Street and briefly parallels Interstate 15 before branching southward into Salt Lake City via Beck Street. Photo taken 09/08/05.
Exit 314 departs Interstate 15 southbound for Center Street. The areas along Center Street west of the freeway are home to railroad lines and industry as witnessed by the skyline. Photo taken 09/08/05.
Interstate 15 passes over Center Street one half mile north of the split with Interstate 215 south. The next upcoming exits overhead lists Interstate 215, U.S. 89, and 2300 North (Exit 311). Photo taken 09/08/05.
A pair of lanes branch away from Interstate 15 southbound for Interstate 215 south. Interstate 215 travels west briefly to Utah 68 (Redwood Road) before turning south toward the airport and West Valley City. Interstate 15 meanwhile maintains six overall lanes through the Interstate 215 & U.S. 89 confluence. Photo taken 09/08/05.
A wye interchange facilitates the movements between Interstate 15 and Interstate 215 at Exit 313. Interstate 215, signed as the Belt Route, serves Salt Lake City International Airport via connections with Interstate 80 seven miles to the south. The freeway meets Interstate 15 again at Exit 298. Photos taken 09/08/05 and by Jeff Royston (03/24/02).
Perspective from Interstate 215 Outer Loop (south)
Interstate 215 begins at North Salt Lake City via a wye interchange (Exit 317). Pictured here is the first reassurance shield posted along the mainline (minus its directional banner). Photo taken 09/08/05.
Interstate 215 south initially travels west before turning south parallel to Utah 68 (Redwood Road). The first interchange joins the Salt Lake City belt line with Utah 68/Redwood Road at Exit 28. A diamond interchange facilitates the movements between the two highways. Photo taken 09/08/05.