Traffic Advisory: Collisions in Virgin River Gorge causing backups

Stock Image, St. George News

VIRGIN RIVER GORGE, Ariz. — A series of collisions in the northbound lanes of Interstate 15 in the Virgin River Gorge have caused a significant traffic backup.

A minor accident in the construction zone in the gorge initially caused a bottleneck, Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said, but a second collision caused the backup to grow much larger. As of 2:07 p.m., the northbound backup had extended beyond 3 miles.

Drivers need to slow down and double their following distances during inclement weather, Bottoms said, adding that travelers need to be patient.

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

Alternate Route

Travelers looking to avoid delays in the Virgin River Gorge should consider using U.S. Highway 91 as an alternate route, which may reduce travel time and ease congestion on I-15.

Highway 91 detours around the Virgin River Gorge and can be accessed at the southern end via I-15 at Exit 8 in Littlefield, Arizona. The northern end routes into Santa Clara and Sunset Boulevard. See map included in this article.

ADOT Bridge rehabilitation project

Bridges in the Virgin River Gorge were originally constructed in the 1970s. When this section of highway was built, it was the most expensive rural interstate highway built per mile. It was completed in 1973 after a decade of construction.

Work began on Bridge No. 6 in the spring of 2014 and involves a $27 million rehabilitation project replacing the bridge’s superstructure — girders, deck and railings — as well as widening the roadway through the narrow passage of the Gorge.

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