Traffic Advisory: Delays anticipated for southbound I-15 with girder delivery

Stock image | St. George News

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE – Motorists passing through the Virgin River Gorge on southbound Interstate 15 Saturday can expect delays as additional girders are delivered for the ongoing Bridge No. 6 reconstruction project.

Delays are expected to begin around 7 a.m. and run through about 4 p.m. Saturday, said Sgt. John Bottoms, of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

The girders range from 90 feet to over 100 feet in length and require Arizona DPS troopers to create breaks in traffic so deliveries can be safely unloaded, Bottoms said previously.

In order to avoid delays, Bottoms said, “I strongly recommend using Highway 91 as an alternate (route).”

Also, with the Thanksgiving holiday next week, the Arizona Department of Transportation has set up electronic signs along the road to remind motorists to expect an hour or two of delays through the Gorge next Wednesday as holiday travel commences.

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

Alternate route

Those seeking to avoid the traffic backup and 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 Exit 8 in 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.

ADOT Bridge rehabilitation project

Bridges in the Virgin River Gorge were originally constructed in the 1970s. When this section of highway was built, it was the most expensive rural interstate highway built, per mile, and was completed in 1973 after a decade of construction.

ADOT began work in January 2014 to modernize and rehabilitate bridges through the Gorge. Work on three of the bridges has been completed, specifically surfaces for Virgin River Bridge No. 2 at milepost 13, Bridge No. 3 at milepost 15 and Bridge No. 7 at milepost 22.

Work began on Bridge No. 6 in the spring of 2014 and is anticipated to be completed in the spring of 2016. Bridge No. 6 involves a $27 million rehabilitation project replacing the bridge’s superstructure – girders, deck and railings – as well as widening the roadway through the narrow passage of the Gorge.

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