ADOT: Virgin River Gorge bridge improvement schedule

Graphic courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation

PHOENIX – As part of an ongoing effort to modernize the Interstate 15 Virgin River Gorge corridor, which was constructed in the 1960s and early 1970s in the far northwestern corner of Arizona, the Arizona Department of Transportation will begin a series of bridge rehabilitation projects in early 2014.

Work on the first phase of the project will begin Monday, Jan. 6 and is expected to be completed by summer 2014. However, a second phase is expected to begin in spring 2014 and be completed in 2015.

Construction will occur primarily during weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The majority of the work will take place in the southbound lanes, requiring two-way traffic in the northbound lanes.

Two phases

Beginning Monday, Jan. 6, ADOT will begin the first leg of the project, a $2.8 million project to upgrade the southbound bridge surfaces, repair girders and perform other work on Virgin River Bridge No. 2 at milepost 13, Bridge No. 3 at milepost 15, and Bridge No. 7 at milepost 22. Work is expected to be completed on this phase by summer 2014.

At the January 2014 State Transportation Board meeting, the board is expected to consider the second phase — the award of a contract for the reconstruction of Virgin River Bridge No. 6 at milepost 16. This significant rehabilitation project will include the replacement of the bridge’s superstructure (girders, deck and railings), as well as widening the roadway through the narrow passage of the gorge.

The $27 million project, which received a federal grant awarded to ADOT last year in the fourth round of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery, also called a TIGER IV grant program, is scheduled to launch in spring 2014 and be completed in 2015.

Tips for drivers

With limited alternate routes due to the remote location of the I-15 Virgin River Gorge corridor, ADOT urges drivers traveling between Mesquite, Nevada, and St. George, Utah, to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, slow down and drive carefully through the work zone. I-15 will be narrowed to one lane in each direction at each of the bridge projects and delays are expected.

Despite its remote location in Arizona, I-15 is one of the most heavily traveled commercial and economic corridors linking southern California with the Rocky Mountain region. Ultimately, ADOT will need to rehabilitate all eight of the I-15 Virgin River bridges.

While the bridges are still considered safe for travel, they require extensive refurbishment to continue serving the substantial volume of traffic along the I-15 corridor. More than 1.4 million commercial trucks travel annually on Arizona’s portion of the interstate.

ADOT and the Gorge

ADOT remains committed to the Interstate 15 corridor, which passes through the environmentally sensitive area of the Virgin River Gorge. When the 29-mile-long Arizona segment of I-15 opened in 1973, the Virgin River Gorge passage was the most expensive section of rural highway, per mile, constructed in the country.

ADOT works to inform the public about planned highway restrictions. Unscheduled restrictions or closures may occur. To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center at or call 5-1-1; outside Arizona, dial 1-888-411-7623.

For more information about these projects, please visit

Submitted by: Arizona Department of Transportation

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

Graphic courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation
Graphic courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation

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  • DB December 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    A little off topic, but the Highway Patrol and Sheriff were having a field day Monday giving out tickets southbound just north of Cedar Pocket…beware.

  • tyler December 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    I am glad they were busting people. Everyone drives like it is a race track in the gorge. I have seen plenty of accidents in there to slow down.

  • GSR March 1, 2014 at 8:23 am

    i so agree with you. 50 mph speed limit for the Gorge would be my preference. I have been driving through it since 1977.

  • Stan June 13, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Please let me know just approximately how long of a time delay is it from Las Vegas to St. George on I-15 ? I am confused with all the actual maps and no time delays mentioned. I want to take my children Fishing to Navajo Lake but will change location if one lane delays are to much. Please help if you can. Thanks, Stan

    • Joyce Kuzmanic June 13, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Stan, we have not been alerted to any extraordinary incidents this afternoon so looking at this as a normal day with the ongoing bridge construction, you might expect travel through the gorge to move along between 20-40 mph depending on the section. If it normally takes you just shy of two hours from Las Vegas to St. George, you might anticipate an extra half hour barring accidents or incidents on the Interstate that impact traffic. Keep an eye on your STGnews app, Facebook or site – we do post when we learn of those kinds of impacts.

      Remember there is an alternate route if you are midway to St. George and learn of slowing: Take Highway 91 which 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.

      I hope that helps, we wish you safe travel and good fishing at Navajo Lake. 🙂

      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

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