ST. GEORGE – And you thought you were done dealing with freeway roadwork for a while with work on Interstate 15 between miles 8 and 10 appearing to wrap up. Well, state road planners aren’t done with you yet as they have engaged in yet another I-15 project in Southern Utah.
This time the Utah Department of Transportation is focusing on the section of road between Brigham Road/Exit 4 and Dixie Drive/Exit 6 interchanges. Some of the work has already begun, with an accompanying trail closure slated for next week.
The plan is to add an auxiliary lane in both directions that will allow drivers to enter the freeway and exit at the next interchange without merging with through-traffic or changing lanes. The new lanes are anticipated to improve traffic flow and enhance safety.
The area has been described as a “choke point” by UDOT planners due to how narrow it becomes while crossing the Virgin River.
“We’re going to remedy that situation,” said Kevin Kitchen, a UDOT spokesman. “Adding those lanes will help with the local commute.”
Adding those new lanes will involve demolishing and replacing the narrow bridges over the Virgin River – a process that begins Monday and is expected to conclude by December.
In addition to providing a third lane of travel, the new bridges will also be able to accommodate the creation of a fourth lane in the future.
As one may expect, the roadwork is going to involve lane and trail closures.
All lanes will remain open during the day from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with traffic reduced to a single lane at night.
Motorists who commute through the area on a regular basis will need to be mindful of the times the road will transition from two lanes to a single lane due to potential delays.
“People who are traveling through that immediate vicinity around those times … (will) need to plan for single-lane traffic,” Kitchen said.
As the bridges are replaced as a part of the road-widening, the Virgin River Trail that goes under I-15 will be closed at various times during the project. During the closure periods, trail users will be detoured to alternate routes. The closures begin Monday.
The project is a part of an overall plan to enhance and improve the infrastructure of the I-15 corridor from mile 16 to the Arizona border in order to accommodate growing use through 2040.
The construction of the diverging diamond interchange at the St. George Boulevard/Exit 8 interchange in 2013 was the first step in this plan, followed by the widening of I-15 between the mileposts 8 and 10, which include the underpass by the Red Cliff’s Mall in 2016. That project is largely completed by this point.
Travel information associated with this and other UDOT construction projects is available through the UDOT Traffic website udottraffic.utah.gov. Drivers can also follow @udottraffic on Twitter or download the free UDOT Traffic App, available for smartphones and tablets.
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