City Council gets preview of options for I-15 milepost 11 interchange project

This photo shows I-15 where it spans the Main Street underpass in Washington City. The location is being considered for a highway exit, an idea opposed by some residents, Washington City, Utah, Aug. 10, 2017 | File photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY – A potential highway interchange between Exits 10 and 13 on Interstate 15 that would be built in the middle of downtown Washington City was one of six possible options engineers shared with city officials and the public Tuesday as a part of a preview for the project’s open house later this month.

Lee Cabell, of Horrocks Engineers, shared basic details of six alternative proposals connected to the Utah Department of Transportation’s MP 11 Interchange environmental study during a council work meeting Tuesday evening ahead of the Aug. 28 open house.

The reason why we’re doing this traffic study is to address some of the traffic issues and congestion we’re seeing around the Exit 10 interchange area (and) the Green Springs-Telegraph intersection,” Cabell said.

The study began a year ago with an open house held in September. The results of the public input given in the September meeting, additional comments submitted online and continuing discussion with a community coordination committee have helped play a role in the proposals being considered by traffic engineers.

Read more: Worries over highway interchange linger as road planners say there will be other options

Lee Cabell, of Horrocks Engineers, shares a preview of potential options for the I-15 milepost 11 interchange project with the Washington City Council ahead of an open house set for Aug. 28, Washington City, Utah, Aug. 7, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

As the study is ongoing and more public input will follow in the wake of the Aug. 28 open house, Cabell said each of options presented Tuesday night are subject to change and even dismissal as the study progresses.

“Tonight is a draft” of the study details, he said.

The concept of an interchange in downtown Washington City does not sit well with some residents and City Council members, however, as they feel it will destroy the character of the area and also be a public safety risk.

Despite the protests over a downtown interchange – which is one of a handful of options presented Tuesday – most residents and city officials have agreed that a solution to the increasing congestion at the Green Springs/Exit 10 interchange needs to be found.

Before going into a brief rundown of the proposed traffic alternatives, Cabell said work would also need to be done on the Green Springs Drive and Telegraph Street intersection and surrounding area. These changes are common to each of the study alternatives and are estimated to solve a majority of the traffic issues in that area.

Proposed changes to the area include:

  • Creating a dedicated right turn lane/lanes on the southbound Green Springs Drive interchange off-ramp on to Buena Vista Boulevard.
  • Widening the Green Springs-Telegraph Street intersection.
  • Widening Telegraph Street to seven lanes.
  • Widening Green Springs-3050 East to seven lanes.
  • Widening and improving the Telegraph Street-Walmart intersection.
  • Installing raised medians along Telegraph Street and Green Springs Drive.

Cabell said the remaining issues at Exit 10 could potentially be handled by one of the options presented Tuesday.

Proposed alternatives (see image below)

A listing of the potential alternatives proposed by the I-15 milepost 11 interchange study as shown in a slide shared in a Washington City Council meeting, Washington City, Utah, Aug. 7, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News | Click to enlarge the image

One of the alternatives involves thru-turns at the Green Springs Drive-Telegraph Street intersection that would eliminate left turns on Red Cliffs Drive, 3050 East and Telegraph Street. Gaining access to those streets require a left turn done though a U-turn configuration.

The next alternative proposes creating one-way frontage roads on either side of I-15 between Exits 10 and 13. While this option would not require a new interchange, several properties along the paths of these roads would be impacted, Cabell said.

Another non-interchange alternative would have a bridge cross over Green Springs Drive that would allow traffic from Red Cliffs Parkway to travel through to Telegraph Street and vice versa. Turns through the intersection would be handled beneath the bridge in a manner similar to the Bluff Street-Snow Canyon Parkway intersection in St. George, Cabell said.

A slide showing the realignment of the proposed Main Street interchange option for the I-15 milepost 11 interchange study as shown in a Washington City Council meeting, Washington, Utah, Aug. 7, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News | Click to enlarge the image

Widening northbound Green Springs Drive to four lanes is also proposed.

The last two options shared at the council meeting were ones for which Washington City residents have not shown much love, as they place an interchange at either Main Street or 300 East, both of which are in the middle of the residential downtown heart of the city.

The Main Street option shows Main Street being realigned to the northwest in order to better connect with the intersection of Buena Vista and Brio Parkway on the north side of I-15. Part of the reason why the current alignment of Main Street would not work is due to a power substation located by the road.

The other interchange proposal is at 300 East. This would entail a reconfiguration of I-15 and realignment of Buena Vista Boulevard to accommodate the new interchange, as well as the widening of 300 East down to Telegraph Street.

Residents have raised objections over the 300 East location related to speeding traffic coming off the highway while also passing Washington Elementary, creating a possible safety risk for children there.

This July 2017 file photo shows a sign on a lawn across the street from the Washington City Offices, Washington City, Utah, July 11, 2017 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

Each of the proposals is going to have a level of impact on the surrounding properties, Cabell said, with some being more impactful than others, though he did not go into detail at the council meeting.

“Details on impacts will be at the open house,” he said. “For each of these alternatives you’ll be able to see exactly which properties will be impacted and how much, where they’re at, what it looks like and study maps in detail and get your questions answered in detail.”

While one alternative may look better than another, Cabell said no “silver bullet concept” has been found to completely fix all of the issues surrounding Exit 10. He added that whatever proposal is chosen in the end, be it one shown at the open house or a new one produced afterward, not everyone will be happy with the results.

As you can see from all these alternatives, someone’s going to get their feelings hurt,” he said.

The next open house on the I-15 MP 11 Interchange study will be Aug. 28 from 4:30-7:30 p.m. at the Washington County Community Center, 350 E. Community Center Drive in Washington City.

Individuals who are unable to attend the open house will still be able to review the alternatives online and submit their comments at mp11.org.

Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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8 Comments

  • tcrider August 9, 2018 at 11:27 am

    The entire Green Springs development is evidence that there has
    and will be any objection for making it bike friendly, none of the proposed
    ideas include any kind of a bike path or trail. All you have to do is try and
    ride a bike through any part of Green Springs and you will probably have a close encounter
    with a car or truck.

    • RVer August 9, 2018 at 11:49 am

      Perhaps not every location is meant for a bike path or trail?

      • tcrider August 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm

        There are a number of Green Springs residents that do ride bikes in Green Springs,
        I do not know whether it is their primary transportation or not, but I can tell you that
        they are forced onto sidewalks because Green Springs drive does not accommodate
        bikes, and that the golf course that is owned by Washington city does not allow bikes
        on the golf course trails, The only thing that means anything for the development of Green
        Springs is the almighty dollar and a huge lack of integrity from the Washington city leaders.
        Even Saint George is not as bad as Washington city and they do some pretty stinky stuff.

        • Redbud August 9, 2018 at 9:03 pm

          Nothing wrong with bikes or bikers in general, but it’s those select few who think they are special or “elite”, and even with bike lanes added, will ride half way into the right most lane and get dangerously close to vehicles just to make their “statement”.

  • AnnieMated August 9, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    I notice that none of the proposals mentioned making sure Utah residents know how to drive before handing them a license. I used to drive that intersection regularly and in my experience 99% of the collisions there are caused by Utah drivers who do something stupid.

  • Dave August 9, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    Open an on off ramp at the fire station

  • Foxyheart August 9, 2018 at 2:43 pm

    You will notice the huge absence of mentioning the waterpark near the Green Springs intersection. All of the thoughts for exit 10 are out the window and for nothing once that park opens up. I think that St.George city should have allowed for hte traffic instead of just approving it and saying, “well that’s their problem”. They allowed it in a really stupid area. No allowance for increase traffic, no allowance to grow the park later, etc. The city wants the tax revenue with no thought of the people or infrastructure around it.

  • Brendon August 9, 2018 at 10:48 pm

    Didn’t realize I had stumbled upon the expert forum.

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