The thousands of commuters through Sugarhouse everyday may only be aware of the project called 'The Draw at Sugarhouse " due to traffic slowdowns on 1300 East. But on June 6th the traffic will once again flow freely when the tunnel between Sugarhouse Park and Hidden Hollow west of 13th is scheduled to officially open. New York artist and engineer Patricia Johanson dropped in to check on the progress Thursday. She won the design competition for the project 11 years ago. She says her design centers on a possible catastrophic flood event while featuring a huge Sego Lily bloom at the mouth of the tunnel.
"The beauty of the project is that everything is on the same footprint, the dam, the art, the wildlife corridor, which is also here, the pedestrian connector, and Parley's Trail. And so you have these many layers that are going on here, "says Johanson.
Walt Gilmore is the construction project manager for the Parley’s Trail and works for Salt Lake County Parks and Recreation. He says Sugarhouse Park is already a great place but this will be a boon for the area.
“The tunnel will accommodate commuters, people who come down from the east side, people who want to stroll or walk, or get to Hidden Hollow,” Gilmore says. “This really provides so much better, safe access to the Sugarhouse Commons area and back and forth to Sugarhouse Park.”
Gilmore says he expects the area to become a state feature on the scale of the many other natural and manmade attractions in Utah. He says debris from the old state prison caused major engineering challenges, delays and cost overruns. He says full completion of the project with all the proposed art work is still 2 years and about 2 million dollars away.