In late 2023, Weber State University’s Bus Rapid Transit system will be finished, if all goes according to plan.

Tractors and other equipment for the construction are seen all over campus as a result of the construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)
Tractors and other equipment for the construction are seen all over campus as a result of the construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)

The idea of creating such a transportation project has bounced around for roughly 20 years, and despite challenges, the project is finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel as Federal Transit Administration financial backing became available and the proper entities have come together.

The project broke ground in 2020, and everything has been running smoothly so far, according to James Larson, public relations specialist for Utah Transit Authority.

Students will be able to see the new landscape on WSU’s campus when returning for the fall 2021 semester as the project takes its shape.

“In September, we’ll start working on 32nd to 36th and widen the road and creating that connecting to Weber State,” Larson said. “Now you’re starting to see busways, canopies and curbing go into place.”

Construction has begun in front of the Shepherd Union as an update of the BRT.
Construction has begun in front of the Shepherd Union as an update of the BRT.

Chad Downs, project manager with Facilities Management at WSU, agrees with Larson, stating that bringing the BRT to this stage has been a massive coordination effort.

“It is moving forward remarkably, considering all of the entities that are involved,” Downs said. “I think it’s amazing that it’s moving forward this far, and it’s actually being executed on campus, and the majority of the central campus work is being done as we speak this summer.”

Widely diverse yet necessary organizations have come together, including UTA, WSU, Ogden City and McKay-Dee Hospital, Weber County, Wasatch Front Regional Council and many more, including Ogden City businesses.

Cones line a gate separating the construction from the paid lot. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)
Cones line a gate separating the construction from the paid parking lot. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)

A project like this isn’t easy with the amount of coordination it takes or with COVID-19 sweeping the nation and impacting not only public transit but also many daily routines and jobs. Even with this setback, however, the deadlines for the project haven’t changed.

“We’ll have three stations finalized and fully up and running for fall semester 2022 that will become the new shuttle for Weber State University,” Larson said. “And that will transport the students from the Dee Events Center to student housing and the center of campus.”

Buses will be picking students up from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., every six to eight minutes.

All sidewalks in front of the Shepherd Union are closed as a result of the new construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost).
All sidewalks in front of the Shepherd Union are closed as a result of the new construction. (Bella Torres / The Signpost).

Downs stated that it is one thing when a project like this is in planning, but it’s a whole different story on the construction end of things. Downs is particularly happy to see the progress and said COVID-19 had a positive impact in allowing for more construction on campus than was initially planned for.

The project has come along smoothly, and the deadline for this project to be finished in 2023 is realistic, according to Downs and Larson. However, there isn’t an exact month or date set for the official ribbon cutting.

“There’s a webpage through UTA that anyone can check on the BRT project’s progress, and students can look for signage around campus for more information,” Downs said.

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