Traffic advisory: Detour advised for Virgin River Gorge travelers

southbound traffic backed up in gorge
Traffic backed up on Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge, Arizona, March 12, 2015 | Photo by Kimberly Scott, St. George News

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE – Due to traffic congestion on northbound Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge Saturday afternoon, motorists are encouraged to travel on old Highway 91 rather than I-15.

“Use the old highway to avoid any unnecessary delays,” Arizona Department of Public Safety Highway Patrol Sgt. John Bottoms said.

Motorists are advised to always stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them when driving. Following too closely creates an unnecessary safety risk which oftentimes results in drivers skidding off into the median when the car in front of them stops or slows, Bottoms said in a previous interview.

Bridge work continues

As the Arizona Department of Transportation continues to make progress on the reconstruction of the Interstate 15 Virgin River Bridge No. 6 in Arizona, the agency is urging drivers to slow down and allow extra travel time as delays are expected while construction continues through the summer.

Current roadwork is focused on the $27 million rehabilitation project for Bridge No. 6. located at milepost 16 on I-15, around 20 miles south of St. George.

Starting in July, single-lane travel in each direction is expected to shift to the new, wider northbound bridge and ADOT will then start work to rebuild the southbound bridge.

The 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 Virgin River Gorge.

At the first of June, ADOT completed deck resurfacing on northbound Bridge No. 6.


See photos, read more: ADOT completes concrete pour for NB Bridge 6; Virgin River Gorge speed limits


The project is anticipated to be completed in 2016.

Bridges in the gorge were originally constructed in the 1970s and are in need of upgrades and repairs. ADOT has completed work on three of the bridges thus far, and began work on Bridge No. 6 in 2014.

Alternate route and tips for drivers

Highway 91 from St. George and Littlefield, Ariz. | Image created on Mapquest.com, St. George News | Click on map to enlarge
Highway 91 from St. George and Littlefield, Ariz. | Image created on Mapquest.com, St. George News | Click on map to enlarge

Drivers are advised to use old Highway 91 as an alternate route. The highway bypasses the Gorge entirely, intersecting with I-15 at Littlefield to the south and connecting to St. George at the north via Santa Clara and Sunset Boulevard. See map included in this article.

With limited alternate routes due to the remote location of the I-15 Virgin River Gorge corridor, ADOT urges drivers to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, slow down and drive carefully through the work zone, and be alert for additional construction equipment, crews and law enforcement personnel. 

For more information about the projects to upgrade the I-15 Virgin River bridges, please visit azdot.gov/I15virginriver.

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 888-411-ROAD (7623)
  • For more information about this project, visit the website

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