ST. GEORGE — Construction has begun on a new St. George overpass which, when completed, will allow traffic from Bluff Street to pass over Red Hills Parkway uninterrupted. Work on the “fly-over” officially began in April and is expected to cost $15.2 million. The project’s specific end date is Nov. 17, although traffic could be flowing a month prior to that.
The new interchange will function much like it does now except the northbound and southbound through-traffic on Bluff Street will no longer need to stop, as it will be able to “fly-over” Red Hills Parkway uninterrupted on two adjacent overpasses, Utah Department of Transportation region 4 spokesperson Kevin Kitchen said.
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Approximately $8.9 million of the $15.2 million project, which includes construction and engineering, is state funded while $6.3 million is federally funded.
The overpass was initially championed by the City of St. George, since Red Hills Parkway is a city street. Eventually, state of Utah entity UDOT adopted the project because of its effect on Bluff Street, which is officially a state-owned road designated as State Route 18.
Red Hills Parkway itself, as well as this intersection, is key to the city of St. George’s growth plan, Kitchen said.
“(The city of St. George) sees Red Hills Parkway as an east-west connector…so it was a fairly high priority for them,” Kitchen said. “(UDOT) came in and made that a joint effort to get that intersection done.”
Construction and delays
Currently, crews have squeezed down traffic lanes and are excavating slope and rock materials, building large columns to support the overpass, installing storm drain pipes – the tallest of which are over 5 feet tall – and installing a mechanically stabilized earth wall.
Vehicle drivers in the area should expect congestion and delays. Cyclists, hikers and recreationalists should use caution and expect dust and construction noise around the intersection, which is adjacent to the Chuckwalla Trailhead area.
The paved biking trail on the west side of Bluff Street, between the Chuckwalla trailhead and the Red Cliffs intersection, has been redirected onto the roadway with construction barrels between the path and vehicle traffic.
All construction work will take place Monday-Saturday during daylight hours. However, work will halt for the Memorial Day weekend holiday from noon on Friday to midnight on Monday.
Bluff Street widening
This overpass is not technically part of the overhaul “Bluff Street to Red Hills Parkway corridor project” slated to begin in January 2015. However, it is on the very north boundary of this project.
The Bluff Street project – recently approved by the Federal Highway Administration – will include two intersection overhauls, one at Sunset Boulevard and the other at St. George Boulevard. The project will also include a widening of a section of Bluff Street between St. George Boulevard and 500 North.
Although this project has been approved, final designs have not been made, Kitchen said. However, funding has recently come in for both the intersection overhauls.
Read our previous report on the Bluff Street corridor and other road projects here.
Check back for more updates on this project.
- Bluff Street project meeting draws out opposition
- Current, future road projects reviewed, transportation expo
- UDOT, Washington County cities exhibit plans for road, trail, bussing projects; Dixie Regional Transportation Expo 2013
- St. George Boulevard-I-15-Exit 8 diverging diamond interchange now open
- Southern Parkway connections slated for December completion, overall route yet to finish
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