Long-term lane closures announced for I-15 south of gorge; ADOT launches new app with traffic updates

ST. GEORGE — Long-term single-lane travel will be returning to a segment of the Arizona stretch of Interstate 15 following Labor Day weekend as bridge work is scheduled to resume. In an attempt to make the roadwork easier for travelers to navigate, the Arizona Department of Transportation has rolled out a smart phone app designed to share traffic information and project updates.

In this file photo, Bridge no. 1 can be seen from Little Jamaica. Work on the bridge, as well as ongoing safety concerns, have prompted the Arizona Department of Transportation to dismantle the site, Beaver Dam, Ariz., Nov. 9, 2018 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

ADOT announced this week that starting Wednesday, travel between mile markers 8 and 9 on I-15 through the Beaver Dam and Littlefield communities will be reduced to a single lane in either direction. The lane closures are anticipated to remain in place through spring 2023.

“Drivers should be prepared to stop and proceed through the work zone with caution while the following around-the-clock restrictions are in place,” an ADOT press release on the closures states.

The speed limit through the construction zone will also be reduced to 45 mph.

In addition to single-lane travel through the construction zone, vehicles wider than 10 feet and carrying more than 129,000 pounds will have to take a 224-mile detour. Signs, as well as the new smart phone app, will direct oversize vehicles to route of US 93, Nevada state Route 319 and Utah state Route 56 between Las Vegas and Cedar City.

Vehicles over 10 feet wide will be required to use a 224-mile detour around the Virgin River Gorge starting in early September 2021 | Map from Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News | Click to enlarge

The new app, which can be downloaded for free on Apple and Android devices, is called “Virgin River Bridge” and will provide updates of construction activities that will likely impact traffic flow on I-15.

“This project seemed like a great fit to have its own app to keep the public updated on construction progress and traffic impacts because most of the traffic on this section of I-15 is passing through from one state to another,” Brenden Foley, assistant district engineer for ADOT’s Northcentral District, said in a statement.

Kiewit Corporation, ADOT’s contractor for the project, has seen success with similar apps, including one for the Valley Metro Central Avenue Light Rail extension in Phoenix, Arizona, and Project Neon, a project upgrading nearly 4 miles of I-15 in Las Vegas.

Information from the app is also available on GPS navigation apps such as Drivewyze and Waze.

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The new Virgin River Bridge app from ADOT designed to share traffic and construction updates with travelers who will by impacted by work taking place on Bridge no. 1 in the Beaver Bam-Littlefield, Arizona area | Images courtesy of the Arizona Department of Transportation, St. George News

Work on the bridge is anticipated to run $56 million and involves replacing the abutment foundations, piers and the bridge deck of Bridge No. 1. New pavement, pavement markings, guardrail and signage are also included in the project.

The project is the latest round in a major upgrade program stretching back to 2014 and focused on the highway bridges on the Arizona portion of I-15. The bridges were originally constructed in the 1970s.

When the 29-mile section of I-15 passing through Arizona was built, it was the most expensive rural interstate highway built per mile. It was completed in 1973 after a decade of construction.

The bridges – most of which are situated in the Virgin River Gorge – hadn’t seen any major maintenance or structural upgrades until ADOT began its massive overhaul project seven years ago.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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