VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — Construction work is causing large traffic jams in the southbound lane of Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge Thursday afternoon.
Motorists can expect major delays and should consider alternate routes. The final phase of the paving project is underway, and traffic is slowing significantly near the work areas.
Motorists are driving by the work sites at speeds less than 10 mph, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said, causing backups that are 3-4 miles in length and growing.
As it gets closer to the weekend and traffic increases the backups may reach 8-9 miles in length, he said.
Motorists turning in the median or driving the wrong way on the freeway or on freeway ramps have caused several close calls, Bottoms said, and drivers will be ticketed for these violations.
Alternate route and tips for drivers
Those seeking to avoid the backup 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.