ST. GEORGE — State, regional and local transportation officials came together Tuesday for the annual Dixie Regional Transportation Expo in St. George to showcase ongoing and future road and infrastructure projects while also hearing from the public.
“It’s a fantastic place for people to get various perspectives on where transportation could be headed and see how it may or may not impact them and how it all comes together,” said Kevin Kitchen of the Utah Department of Transportation.
The expo has been running for 14 years and during that time road planners have answered questions from the public while also hearing what they have to say.
“It’s early enough in the process of some of these projects to have an influence,” Kitchen said.
Public input helped shape the final design of Bluff Street’s reconstruction last year while also seeing to the addition of a pedestrian underpass at the Bluff Street-Sunset Boulevard intersection.
“These types of things, a lot of them get their genesis at the expo,” Kitchen said.
This year UDOT and several of the county’s municipalities showed off the transportation-related projects they have in the works. UDOT has begun work on upgrading the Exit 16 interchange while St. George is moving on widening a part of River Road and Ivins plans to add improvements to it’s portion of Old Highway 91.
Year by year, the roadwork seems endless. Whether it involves Interstate 15 or some city street, there always seems to be some road project underway somewhere in the county. Why?
“The continuing road construction is being driven by the growth in this county and by the fact that roads wear out over time,” said Myron Lee, director of the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization.
The county’s population has doubled over the last 20 years and is expected to double again over the next 20, Lee said.
“In order to accommodate the trips that will generate, we need additional roads and we need wider roads with better facilities,” he said.
The Dixie MPO helps coordinate municipal, county and state road projects so all involved are on the same page and their plans match up, Lee said. It is also in charge of the county’s 30-year transportation plans that are based on current and future travel demands and estimates.
Utah Department of Transportation
The Southern Parkway
The Southern Parkway is moving close to completion, Kitchen said. The roadway currently ends at the intersection with Sand Hollow Road which provides a connection to state Route 9 on the west side of the Sand Hollow Reservoir. When finally built out, the remainder of the Southern Parkway will reach around the eastern side of the reservoir and connect to SR-9 at 2800 West in Hurricane.
While currently in the design phase, if all goes well, work could begin on the last phase of the parkway later this year.
Exit 16 interchange
The project to widen the bridges and add new lanes to the Exit 16 interchange connecting I-15 and SR-9 started Monday.
Additional details on the project, as well as a pending overnight closure to southbound I-15 access, can be found here.
Milepost 11 Project
This project proposes to create an interchange in the area of milepost 11 on I-15 to help lessen the traffic congestion at the Green Springs Drive/Exit 10 interchange. The project is currently in an environmental study phase that has narrowed done various proposals for the project to an interchange at Main Street in Washington City.
The project has drawn opposition from some Washington City residents due to the fear it will destroy the character of the city’s downtown residential area.
People will be able to offer comment on the project’s draft study document at an open house March 19 at the Washington City Community Center.
UDOT is working with the Bureau of Land Management on an environmental study related to the proposed roadway that would run through the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve.
River Road and other projects
A major project for St. George set for later this year is the widening of River Road between Riverside Drive and 1450 East. Upgrades to the roadway will include two dedicated left turning lanes from River Road onto Riverside Drive and 1450 East.
The city is also moving to finish the 2480 South extension and 3430 East repaving in the Little Valley area, as well as Commerce Drive where a new fire station is to be built.
Other notable projects for the year include the pedestrian underpass running under I-15 at 400 South. Road planners are aiming to have that project completed before the fall semester at Dixie State University begins.
St. George’s mass transit system is reorganizing its routes to move from 40- and 80-minute loops to 30- and 60-minute ones.
There are also plans to extend SunTran service into the Little Valley area at some point as funding becomes available.
Projects in Washington City include Washington Parkway and Merrill Road.
Washington Parkway will be extended from Exit 13 to the northern end of Green Springs Drive. This will provide a second way into and out of the Green Springs area. The second access is intended to take some of the pressure of of the Green Springs Drive/Exit 10 interchange that is the primary access point into the Green Springs part of the city.
Merrill Road is being extended to Washington Fields Road to provide residents in that part of the city a direct route to the Mall Drive bridge area in the future.
The city also plans install curb and gutter along Main Street as a part of future flood control efforts. Plans also include widening Main Street and installing a center median.
Santa Clara and Ivins
Santa Clara plans to build a new bridge on Chapel Street over the Santa Clara River to accommodate growth in that part of town.
In Ivins, plans are in the works for continuing improvements to Old Highway 91 that include adding bike lanes and a bike trail that reaches toward the Shivwits Reservation. Other projects in Ivins include some roadwork set for 400 West and 200 East and chip sealing work be to done on 600 West.
While Hurricane will primarily be affected by the Exit 16 project and Southern Parkway’s completion. Priorities within the city include future work and improvements to 100 North, 600 North and 700 West between 100 North and 600 North as new development occurs.
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