ST. GEORGE — Months of roadwork on a redesigned Main Street in Washington City officially came to an end Friday as barricades came down and regular traffic was allowed to return to normal for the downtown area.
The redesign of Main Street started last year as a flood-control measure following two major rain storms that caused a torrent of water to pour down the road and subsequently flood multiple homes in July and August 2018.
Part of the problem was the layout of the street that moved water to the sides of the road and into homes rather then down the middle of the road. Now, after a year of work, Main Street has a concave design and drainage systems that city officials believe will mitigate future flooding issues.
“We’ve concaved the road so we can mitigate flooding, which is the main reason we did this,” Washington City Mayor Ken Neilson said Wednesday while standing near the corner of Main Street and Telegraph Street.
While the barricades were still up at the time, the bulk of the roadwork had been completed with only a handful of workers still on scene to wrap up lingering projects.
Work on Main Street began in August 2019 and officially ended Friday. While it feels like it has been a long process, Neilson said, the overall project only experienced minor delays.
“We really want to thank the residents on Main Street and off Main Street that have been very patient with this process,” the mayor said. “Hopefully they’ll like that the end product is.”
Beyond the newly concaved roadway, residents on Main Street between the Interstate 15 underpass and Telegraph Street now have sidewalks and curbs and gutters lining both sides of the road. The street is also lined with what Neilson referred to as “traffic-calming measures” meant to help keep traffic through the area slow.
Among these measures is the median down the center of the roadway that is filled with white rocks and small trees anticipated to grow bigger with time. Bulb out and pullout areas also line either side of the street.
Designated bike lanes have also been added to this segment of Main Street.
As for flood control, Neilson said any water that comes down Main Street will be directed into a series of four drainage systems between I-15 and Telegraph Street. If the incoming water proves to be more than the first systems can hold, then it will go to the second, third and finally fourth system while dissipating along the way.
“So we’re very confident that if we have a 100-year flood, or a 200-year flood, that we will be able to have Main Street handle it,” Neilson said. “When the water gets to this point (near Telegraph Street), it’s a trickle.”
Overall, Neilson said he was pleased with how the project turned out.
“It’s a beautiful addition to our community,” he said. “Main Street has always been our downtown.”
As a part of the project, residents on both sides of Main Street ended up losing a part of their front yards to the city’s right of way, which was used to widen the street. While some residents certainly weren’t happy about that, Neilson said complaints over the matter eventually calmed down.
The redesign project is estimated to have run $5 million.
Some residents have asked the mayor about Main Street’s pending connection to the milepost 11 interchange the Utah Department of Transportation had proposed. While Main Street may tie into that project, it will likely still be a few years before UDOT gets the funding needed to start building the interchange, Neilson said.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.