ADOT continues I-15 traffic breaks in Virgin River Gorge; allow extra travel time

Crews work on one of the bridges being upgraded and rehabilitated in the Virgin River Gorge, Mohave County, Arizona, 2014 | Photo courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Arizona Department of Transportation is continuing traffic breaks Tuesday on Interstate 15 along the Virgin River Gorge for rock fall containment work. Motorists traveling through the area should plan ahead and allow for construction delays of approximately 15 minutes and drive with extra precaution throughout the week.

Arizona bridges 2, 3 and 6, Interstate 15, Virgin River Gorge, Arizona | Image courtesy of Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News
Arizona bridges 2, 3 and 6, Interstate 15, Virgin River Gorge, Arizona, 2014 image | Image courtesy of Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News | Click on image to enlarge

Due to heavy traffic Monday, these traffic breaks caused traffic standstills and backups, Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms said.

“We’ll have traffic backed up sporadically throughout the day — probably until 5 p.m.,” Bottoms said Tuesday morning.

In addition to the ongoing construction work on Virgin River Bridge No. 6, crews are currently removing rocks within the work zone through Jan. 23. This rock fall containment work requires rolling lane closures to allow for the safety of both the construction crews and the traveling public.

While one travel lane will remain open in each direction, motorists should slow down and drive carefully through work zones and be alert for construction equipment and personnel.

The $27 million rehabilitation of Virgin River Bridge No. 6 began in March 2014, and is anticipated to be completed in 2016. This significant project includes the replacement of the bridge’s superstructure – girders, deck and railings – as well as widening the roadway through the narrow passage of the Gorge.

Drivers should allow for up to 15 minutes extra travel time during construction on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional delay time may occur on weekends due to heavier traffic volume and special events.

The busiest travel times through the Gorge are Friday through Sundays, according to ADOT. With limited alternate routes due to the remote location of the I-15 Virgin River Gorge corridor, ADOT urges drivers to plan ahead and allow extra travel time.

Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from Mapquest.com
Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from Mapquest.com

Alternate route and tips for drivers

Those seeking to avoid the construction work in the Virgin River Gorge may take Highway 91 as an alternate route. The highway bypasses the gorge entirely, intersecting with I-15 at Littlefield, Arizona, to the south, and connecting to St. George at the north via Santa Clara and Sunset Boulevard. See map included in this article.

Resources

  • To stay up to date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at AZ511.gov or call 511; outside of Arizona dial 1-888-411-ROAD (7623)
  • For more information about this project, visit the website

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2 Comments

  • Steve January 20, 2015 at 11:37 am

    What is a traffic break?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic January 20, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Most simply, its a break that occurs or is created in the normal flow of traffic, Steve. In cases where traffic is heavy or backed up, traffic breaks are created by highway patrol or law enforcement officers to force breaks (or separations) in traffic. Have you ever seen highway patrol suddenly advance and then slow down all forward-moving traffic on a highway? That’s creating a traffic break.
      Good question!
      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

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