Interstate 415 signed along I-15 north. This late 1960s photo from the Utah State Archives was scanned by AARoads Forum Member CL.
The alignment for a 6.5 mile section of the southeast belt route, through Holladay and Cottonwood, was endorsed by the Utah Transportation Commission on December 17, 1975.3 Of five alternatives outlined, Alternative A-6 was selected from the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The EIS was prepared after area residents along the corridor filed suit over the controversial southeast quadrant in July 1973. Preliminary findings of the study indicated that the completed portions of the Belt Route north and west would not be used to their full potential without completion of the section in between. It also added that congestion and air pollution levels would increase along major arterials due to expected growth through 1995.4
Alternative A-6, which favored a vacant area between 900 East and 1300 East, included three interchanges and ran east from 300 East / 6800 South to Knudsens Corners (6200 South / 2000 East) and north to the preexisting I-215 at 4500 South.3 Despite the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) adopting the final EIS on March 4, 1977, the section was still contested by area residents, the Cottonwood, Inc. citizen group and Salt Lake City Mayor Ted Wilson. Opponents claimed that the endorsement by UDOT of the EIS was done without discussion, paving the way to submit the statement to the Federal Highway Administration. The proposed beltway along 6200 South called for a depressed design 20 to 30 feet below grade, requiring a relocation of Little Cottonwood Creek onto an aqueduct. Concerns for air quality, runoff, drainage and flood problems were cited.5
A lawsuit was eventually filed by Cottonwood, Inc., but the court did not grant the injunction, allowing work to proceed on completing the route. A closure of the Belt Route from 300 East to 700 East took place on June 4, 1979 in preparation for excavation work. Subsequent construction was divided into five sections.6 Delays however continued through the next decade.
Construction on I-215 from 1100 East (Exit 9) to Highland Drive (Exit 8) was completed by November 1987. Work on three additional sections remained scheduled through late 1988. They included segments from Highland Drive east to 6400 South and north to 4500 South (Exit 5), from 2000 North / 2000 West (Exit 25) south to I-80 (Exit 22) and 2100 South / 2000 West (Exit 20) north to I-80.7
The Belt Route western section was completed on October 7, 1988 with the opening of I-215 between Interstate 80 and 2100 South. The six lane, 3.2 mile long section cost $36.6 million. The southeast section, from 6500 South to 3300 East remained under construction for another 18 months.8