ST. GEORGE – Construction on the new Dixie Drive Interchange is mid-way through the project as crews from Ralph Wadsworth, UDOT, Granite Construction and other crews work on the sub structure of the bridge.
Chad Sneddon, an inspector for UDOT, said crews are currently in the middle of phase two of three. Phase one of the project consisted of building the sub structure for the new Interstate-15 southbound lanes. Drivers going northbound on I15 are currently driving on what will be the southbound lanes in the future as the entire bridge shifts to the east.
Phase two consists of working on the structure for the northbound lanes that goes over the Santa Clara River. UDOT expects that project, as well as the Santa Clara bridge, to finish up in August, said Scott Wiscombe, project manager for WCC.
As workers move to phase three of the project, drivers will move to the northbound lanes as crews finish the southbound lanes that they began in phase one. The entire project, including landscaping, parking for Confluence Trail and a pavilion at the entrance of the trail, will conclude in the summer of 2012, Wiscombe said.
Drivers may notice large, vertical columns as they pass the construction site on I15. Sneddon said these tall masts are drill rigs that bore supports in the ground for the bridge. A cage is then placed in the ground and held with concrete.
Next to the supports, crews are working on the northbound ramp for Exit 5. These large H-piles support the abutment for the Dixie Drive structure. When crews are finished, the two areas of Dixie Drive will rise 30 feet in the air, over the interstate, and connect on either side of I15. Kevin Kitchen with UDOT said the overall effect would be similar to Exit 2 where everything will come to a single point.
As part of the project, Wiscombe said crews are redoing three of four ramps at Exit 4. In order to support the Dixie Drive Interchange, they have to widen the Bluff Street exit, he said. Construction there is expected to continue until 2012.