ST. GEORGE — Traffic on Interstate 15 passing through the Exit 16 interchange will be put through a new traffic pattern next week as work crews set to demolish parts of the bridge structure. A temporary change to traffic for the ramps on and off the interchange will begin Friday.
The Exit 16 interchange project in one of a handful of projects in the I-15 through Washington County corridor that the Utah Department of Transportation is engaged in or studying.
According a UDOT update, the inside of the new bridge structure is nearly complete, which prompted the work crews to prepare for the pending traffic shift expected to take place Monday and Tuesday.
“I-15 traffic will be shifted from the two outside lanes in each direction to the two inside lanes in each direction over the new portion of the bridge,” according to UDOT.
Once the traffic has been shifted to the two inside lanes, demolition on the outsides of the bridge structure will begin.
Beginning Friday there will be a new temporary traffic pattern on the I-15 northbound exit ramp.
Vehicles traveling from I-15 southbound to eastbound SR-9 will be required to stop and then merge safely into traffic traveling from the I-15 northbound exit ramp.
Motorists are advised to pay attention to all traffic signage while passing though the construction zone.
“UDOT would like to remind the public to be aware of 24/7 work crews, lane shifts, other drivers and pedestrians while traveling through all construction zones,” UDOT stated. “Please slow down and obey all traffic signs. Zero Fatalities and zero injuries is a goal we can all live with.”
The project began Feb. 11 and is anticipated to run through November. It is the latest in a series of improvements recommended by a 2013 study that focused on the I-15 corridor between miles 0 and 16, according to UDOT.
During a meeting of the Dixie Metropolitan Planning Organization Wednesday, a UDOT representative said the project was on schedule despite some delays caused by recent rains.
Improvements to Exit 16 include:
- Addition of a second lane to the I-15 northbound exit ramp to eastbound SR-9.
- Addition of a second lane to the SR-9 westbound entrance ramp to southbound I-15.
- Addition of another lane on westbound SR-9 between Coral Canyon interchange and I-15 entrance ramp.
- Addition of a third southbound lane on I-15 between SR-9 and Exit 13.
- Improvement of curves and speeds on all ramps.
- Reconstruction to widen and lengthen bridges on I-15 over SR-9.
- Extension of northbound I-15 truck lane through the interchange.
The project is estimated to cost $29 million.
Other UDOT projects of note in Washington County
Though more of a city of St. George project than a UDOT one, the state road agency is working with the city on the construction of a pedestrian underpass at 400 South that will connect that portion of the east and west sides of the city separated by the interstate.
The underpass will provide more direct access to Dixie State University on the west side of the highway to apartments on the east side where some apartment units cater to university students.
UDOT is also studying a potential interchange in the area of milepost 11 on I-15 through Washington City. It has been a bone of contention for some Washington City residents as the a favored design for the interchange cuts into a residential neighborhood.
The UDOT representative at Wednesday’s Dixie MPO meeting said a final decision concerning the milepost 11 project could be issued sometime in July.
Two other studies are looking at potential I-15 interchanges at milepost 18 in Hurricane and milepost 7 in St. George.
An interchange at milepost 18 could allow semitrucks to directly enter Hurricane’s industrial park where the Walmart Distribution Center, DATS Trucking, Fedex and other companies are located. That could reduce traffic volume through Exit 16.
An interchange at milepost 7 would likely exit onto 700 South, where there are various business and apartments. An advantage of having an exit at this location is that it would provide a more direct route to Dixie Regional Medical Center.
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