Keep truck ban on Legacy, but raise speed limit, say Utahns

Semi Truck 01

Most Utahns don’t want large, semi-trailer trucks on the Legacy Highway in Davis County, but they do want the current speed limit of 55 mph raised to 70 mph along that stretch of roadway, a new poll shows.

A 15-year-old deal on the highway’s speed and truck restrictions runs out next year.

The highway – which is a scenic road that basically runs west of I-15, north and south, in Davis County — was built as a possible bypass when I-15 is closed or restricted because of weather, accidents or construction.

Currently, only cars and smaller trucks are usually allowed on Legacy, which has a speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

There are walking and biking trails along Legacy, extensive landscaping, and generally a feeling not like a freeway.

Pollster Dan Jones & Associates asked all Utahns about how they would like to see Legacy operated by the Utah Department of Transportation.

Some of the numbers:

— 49 percent said they “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose the highway being opened up all the time to large, semi-trailer trucks (large trucks are permitted on Legacy under certain conditions).

— 30 percent said they’d like the newer highway to carry larger trucks, and 20 percent didn’t know.

— 57 percent of Utahns say they want the speed limit on Legacy increased to 70 miles per hour.

— Only 37 percent say they want to keep the current top speed limit to 55 mph.

Legacy runs from I-215 in northern Salt Lake County to Farmington in Davis County, and is used by motorists driving north and south.  

The poll is broken out by the four U.S. House Districts, and DJA finds interesting numbers among those who live in the 1st and 2nd Districts, which take in northern Utah and Salt Lake County.

— 58 percent of 1st District residents say they don’t want large trucks on Legacy, while 53 percent of 2nd District residents agree – no big trucks on the road.

— But 64 percent of 1st District residents want the Legacy speed limit increased to 70 miles per hour.

— And 57 percent of 2nd District residents want the higher speed limit on the road.

How to control access and speed on Legacy is not necessarily a partisan issue, but the Utah Legislature, with a majority of Republicans, can be interested in the political breakdown of polling numbers.

All Davis County House and Senate members are Republicans, all of Salt Lake City legislators are minority Democrats.

DJA finds:

— Republicans say keep large trucks off of Legacy, 43-35 percent, with 22 percent undecided.

— Democrats agree, with a much wider margin, 64-19 percent, with 17 percent undecided.

— Political independents say keep the big trucks off Legacy, 52-28 percent, with 21 percent undecided.

Raising the speed limit to 70 mph on Legacy gets some mixed partisan feelings:

— Republicans want the high speed limit, 59-34 percent.

— Democrats are split, 46 percent for 70 mph, and 47 percent against.

— While independents want to drive faster on Legacy, 58-35 percent.

The Legislature may well take a stand on the issue.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Bountiful, has sponsored SB119, which would extend the big truck ban to 2022, but doesn’t deal with the speed limit issue.

And Rep. Melissa Ballard, R-North Salt Lake, has HB339, which would extend the truck ban on Legacy until 2025, but also doesn’t deal with the speed limit issue.

DJA polled 822 adults from Jan. 3-15, with a statewide margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percent.

In the 1st and 2nd Districts, DJA polled 202 adults in each district, with a margin of error of plus or minus 6.9 percent.