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Group questions Utah Lake bridge decision process

PROVO (Deseret News) — The possibility of a bridge over Utah Lake troubles Jim Westwater, and not just because of possible environmental consequences.

Westwater, chairman of the Utah Valley Earth Forum, worries that those making decisions on the project may be biased.

The Utah Division of Forestry, Fire and State Lands will have the final say on the proposed six-mile, $600 million, privately funded toll bridge across the lake that would span from just north of Pelican Point in Saratoga Springs to 800 North in Orem.

Westwater says comments made during a Utah County Commission meeting earlier this year have him questioning the division's ability to make an impartial decision on the proposed crossing.

Dave Grierson, sovereign lands coordinator with the state lands division, talked about Gov. Gary Herbert's position on the project during the meeting.

"The governor reiterated his stance that he doesn't want the state to obstruct legitimate business ventures and that he believes in the free-market system," Grierson said. "And he said he'd support the project if the environmental, financial and other issues are adequately addressed."

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