Virgin River Gorge roadwork will cause 224-mile detour for some vehicles, delays for all motorists

Stock image, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The Arizona Department of Transportation announced Monday that motorists should be prepared for around-the-clock restrictions for oversized vehicles and intermittent delays for all others on Interstate 15 through the Virgin River Gorge beginning in May and continuing through spring 2020. Travelers may want to consider the alternate route on Highway 91.

Updated Oct. 31, 2019: Virgin River Gorge construction zone tallies over 40 crashes. Is there a ‘best time’ to travel?

According to Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms, all stakeholders in the project met May 2 and have decided to begin the project after Memorial Day weekend so as to not negatively impact travel on the holiday weekend. Construction is now scheduled to begin on May 29.

During the first phases of the construction, northbound and southbound I-15 will be narrowed to one lane between mileposts 13 and 16, which will cause delays, especially during high-traffic times.

In addition, because of the terrain within the gorge and the narrow width of I-15, the 3-mile work zone will be restricted for vehicles wider than 10 feet. All loads wider than 10 feet must use a 224-mile detour route as crews repair three bridge decks along the highway. The 10-foot restriction is for oversize loads only, Bottoms said. All commercial traffic and large motor home and travel trailers will fit within the the narrowed lane. However, this could contribute to slowing traffic and delays.

Alternate route

Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from | Click to enlarge

Those seeking an alternate route to avoid traffic can take Highway 91, which can save travel time and reduce congestion in the Virgin River Gorge.

The highway bypasses the gorge entirely, intersecting with I-15 at Exit 8 in Littlefield, Arizona, to the south and connecting to St. George at the north via Santa Clara and Sunset Boulevard.

ADOT is advising motorists who choose to use I-15 through the gorge to slow down and use caution around construction personnel and equipment. Drivers should also prepare to merge into the other lane.

The $6.4 million project will rehabilitate three bridge decks on I-15. Work is scheduled to begin in April and last at least one year. For more information, please visit the project website.

Wide-load detour

Signs will direct wide-load traffic to the detour route of US 93, Nevada state Route 319 and Utah state Route 56 between Las Vegas, Nevada, and Cedar City, Utah.

Vehicles over 10 feet wide will be required to use a 224-mile detour around the Virgin River Gorge starting in early April 2019 | Map from Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News | Click to enlarge

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