MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. – With area schools getting out for the summer and Memorial Day Weekend around the corner, traffic on Interstate 15 is already beginning to pick up, according to the Arizona Highway Patrol. That can only mean good things for motorists traveling through the Virgin River Gorge, right?
Not so much.
“The race to get somewhere for Memorial Day has already begun…If you want to avoid any delays, I would use Old Highway 91,” AHP Sgt. John Bottoms relayed to media Thursday afternoon, noting northbound traffic in the gorge looked like it was slowly beginning to back up.
Travel through the gorge on a good day can move along between 20-40 mph depending on what section motorists are passing through. This is due to the construction work being done on highway bridges by the Arizona Department of Transportation. The I-15 bridges were built in the 1960s and are in need of upgrades. ADOT is currently working on Bridge no. 6 at around mile post 16 along the Arizona stretch of the interstate, which carries a pricetag of $27 million. ADOT anticipates it may take around two years to finish the project – and that’s just the one bridge.
In order to avoid delays caused by the bridge work, Bottoms continues to recommend Old Highway 91 as an alternative.
Alternate route and tips for drivers
Individuals 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.
No matter which route motorists choose, obedience to traffic laws and posted speed limits is advised in order to avoid becoming acquainted with Washington County Sheriff’s deputies or AHP troopers under unfavorable circumstances.
- View a project flyer with a map of the area: Virgin River Gorge I-15 Bridge Rehabilitation Projects 2014-2015
- To stay up-to-date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center online.
- Travelers outside of Arizona needing to check road conditions may call 1-888-411-ROAD, or while in Arizona dial 511.
- More information about the I-15 Virgin River Gorge bridge projects is available on the ADOT website.
- ADOT seeks public input on 2019 Virgin River Bridge No. 1 project
- ADOT begins largest bridge reconstruction project in Virgin River Gorge, Bridge No. 6 on I-15
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