VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Southbound traffic through the Virgin River Gorge section of Interstate 15 is backed up 1-2 miles as of 4:20 p.m. as travelers head to Las Vegas for a bowl game between longtime football rivals Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
The two in-state rivals will meet for the first time in a bowl game when they take the field at Sam Boyd Stadium on Saturday, Dec. 19, at 12:30 p.m. PT (1:30 p.m. MT). The game will be broadcast live nationally on ABC.
“To avoid all delays, use old Highway 91,” Arizona DPS Sgt. John Bottoms said.
ADOT is working on a major reconstruction of the Virgin River Bridge No. 6 at milepost 16, midway between Mesquite, Nevada, and St. George, approximately 100 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
While no work will be taking place this weekend, the freeway is narrowed to one lane in each direction through the work zone until the project is completed in 2016.
Those seeking to avoid the traffic backup 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.
To stay up to date with the latest highway conditions around the state, visit the ADOT Traveler Information Center website or call 511; outside of Arizona, dial 1-888-411-ROAD (7623).
For more information about the I-15 Virgin River Bridge projects, go online.