Current, future road projects reviewed, transportation expo

The 2014 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Current and future road projects across the county were showcased at the 2014 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo Tuesday. The Utah Department of Transportation updated the public on the Bluff Street Corridor and other projects while St. George and other municipalities also displayed ongoing and future roadwork.

Utah Department of Transportation

The Bluff Street Corridor – The Bluff Street Corridor project is being done in three segments at Red Hills Parkway, Sunset Boulevard and St. George Boulevard over the next three-to-four years.

Work on overpasses at Bluff Street at Red Hills Parkway is slated for March. Work at Sunset Boulevard on a “jug handle” overpass may start in 2015. Once completed, certain signal lights will be eliminated, facilitating faster commute times and lessen traffic congestion. Both areas will also feature improved pedestrian/bicycle paths.

Bluff Street at St. George Boulevard could reach full buildout by 2018, said Kevin Kitchen, spokesman for UDOT Region 4. This part of the project came under scrutiny by area residents and business owners along Bluff Street who would be affected by the proposed widening of Bluff Street and reconfiguration of the Bluff Street-St. George Boulevard intersection.

“This is still the preferred alternative, but still has no construction funding,” Kitchen said.

The plan currently being proposed is based on a broad environmental assessment, he said. “As we fine tune we try to lessen the impacts.”

Southern Parkway Segment 3B – For the time being, the Southern Parkway, also called state Route 7, is complete. Last month, work to connect segments 3A and 4A via a detour through Washington City was completed. This had finished a route from Interstate 15 Exit 2 to state Route 9 via 4300 West in Hurricane. Segment 3B, from Warner Road to Washington Dam Road, is currently in the design phase with work anticipated to begin later this year.

The remainder of the Southern Parkway, which will loop around the east side of Sand Hollow Reservoir and connect to Hurricane proper, may not take shape for awhile.

Lee Cabell, of Horrocks Engineers, said there currently was no funding for additional segments of the parkway and there didn’t appear to be an immediate need for it. That could change in the future, of course, depending how development in the area goes, he said.

UDOT’s Washington County projects can be found here.

St. George

While the Mall Drive Bridge project finally began work on Feb. 4, and was featured at the Transportation Expo, additional projects were also featured:

  • Two new roundabouts will be built in St. George this year. The first will be built at 600 West Tonquint Drive, and the second will be built at 400 East Tabernacle St.
  • The city plans to widen Indian Hills Drive so travel lanes are 12 feet across with 6 foot shoulders, improving overall safety. Roadwork may begin in the spring.
  • Improvements are being planned for Little Valley Road due to the rapid growth in the area. The road will be widened in parts. Curb, gutter and sidewalk will also be added top portions of the road.

An overview of the city’s road projects can be found here.

Washington City

Projects of note in Washington include extending Merrill Road to Washington Fields Road. A portion of Washington Fields Road that serves as a connector for the Southern Parkway is currently being improved to accommodate increased traffic flow.

Hurricane

Widening and reconstruction of 600 North in Hurricane between state Route 9 and 200 West is a project being undertaken in conjunction with UDOT. The city plans to make the road safer and to correct pre-existing infrastructure issue.

SunTran

Representatives of SunTran were at the transportation expo to encourage more people to ride the bus.

Through nearly 500,000 bus rides were logged  in 2013, Fred Davis, transit manager for the City of St. George, said it is a challenge to get people who regularly commute in their own vehicles to use public transit. In order to encourage more people to ride the bus, fliers showing how much money drivers could potentially save annually if they ride the bus were handed out.

According to the fliers, a person driving a medium-sized sedan could save up to $6,600, and an SUV driver could save around $11,200, annually.

SunTran currently runs four 40-minute bus routes in the St. George area. A new route into Ivins will open in 2015.

There have been various request to take SunTran into Bloomington and Sun River, as well as Hurricane, Davis said. Public Transit has also been a recurring issue in Washington City.

The cost of starting a new route can reach around $650,000, Davis said. The first year of operations can cost a city $250,000, with annual costs in route maintenance being $100,000. A new bus to run the route can run up to $400,000. Once ordered, it can take up to 18 months for the bus to be delivered.

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

The 2014 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News
The 2014 Dixie Regional Transportation Expo, St. George, Utah, Feb. 11, 2014 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

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