Traffic backed up in Virgin River Gorge, alternate route advised

Stock Image| St. George News

Editor’s Note: As of 6:34  p.m., northbound traffic is no longer backed up through the Virgin River Gorge on Interstate 15, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said.

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Northbound traffic is backing up quickly on Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge and travelers are advised to take an alternate route or be prepared for delays, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said at 12:01 p.m.

“Traffic is quickly backing up northbound on I-15 as you enter the Virgin River Gorge, currently we have 2 miles of backed up traffic,” Bottoms said.

Construction projects in the Gorge are contributing to the delays.

Alternate route

Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from
Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from

Those seeking to avoid the traffic backup in the Virgin River Gorge may take Highway 91 as an alternate route, which may save travel time and reduce congestion, Bottoms said.

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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