The Northern Corridor is a proposed 4-lane highway through the protected Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and National Conservation Area (NCA). It would run east-west through Red Cliffs for 4.5 miles, linking I-15 Exit 13 to Red Hills Parkway. It is estimated that by 2040, 32,000-46,000 cars will travel on this route each day.
To see the land and neighborhoods at stake please click here to watch a video of the route the Northern Corridor Highway would take through the heart of the Red Cliffs NCA.
The long history of this highway is full of twists and turns. Since 2006 Washington County has tried, unsuccessfully, to push the highway through six times. In December 2019, Washington County and the Utah Department of Transportation applied to the Bureau of Land Management for a right-of-way to build the Northern Corridor through the Red Cliffs NCA .
Their application triggered a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review of the project’s environmental and socioeconomic impacts. A major public comment period inviting the public to weigh in on transportation alternatives to the Northern Corridor Highway opened on June 12, 2020. With your help, we can make sure that this is Washington County’s final attempt to get the Northern Corridor Highway. Smarter transportation alternatives exist. Please comment this summer supporting a transportation alternative that doesn’t sacrifice the Red Cliffs NCA and our quality of life.
CSU’s Position on the Northern Corridor Highway
The Northern Corridor Highway breaks promises made in good faith, sets a dangerous precedent, and causes irreparable damage to our communities and environment. We oppose the Northern Corridor Highway for these reasons:
- The highway does not honor prior promises to protect the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.
- The highway damages the Red Cliffs National Conservation Area and sets a dangerous precedent for all of America’s National Conservation Lands.
- There are more effective, less expensive transportation solutions that can reduce future traffic congestion without sacrificing Red Cliffs.
- Damage caused by the highway can’t be mitigated by Zone 6.
- The highway undermines the spectacular quality of life we enjoy in Washington County.
Northern Corridor Highway Impacts to Community and Environment
Here are some of the impacts Conserve Southwest Utah is most concerned about:
- The highway would cut through the backyards of peaceful homes in Green Springs and Middleton, increasing noise levels from 30 to more than 60 decibels in places.
- The litter, noise, air and light pollution will also spill into the communities of Warm Springs and Brio if the Northern Corridor is connected to the Washington Parkway Extension (see map above).
- The highway will damage exquisite scenery, open space and world-class recreation that attract over 200 thousand annual visitors who spend millions of dollars in Washington County each year. In 2013, visitors to Red Cliffs had an economic output of $3 million, and their contributions are much higher now.
- The highway will fragment two popular trails (Cottontail and T-bone) and impact 13 others with litter, noise, air pollution, light pollution and visual disturbance.
- The highway will impact Native American cultural sites where the history of the Southern Paiute people should remain protected, not paved over with asphalt.
- The highway will jeopardize the survival of one of the last high-density populations of threatened Mojave desert tortoise left surviving anywhere in the species’ range.
- The highway will impact over 20 other threatened, endangered and sensitive species including the Gila monster, burrowing owl and kit fox.
There is so much worth protecting in the Red Cliffs NCA! Get ready to write your comment on the Northern Corridor Highway starting June 12, 2020. Click here to learn more.