UDOT unveils preferred 700 South interchange design in St. George; public comment period underway

ST. GEORGE — Following months of speculation regarding what form a new highway interchange at 700 South in St. George may take, the Utah Department of Transportation released an environmental assessment at the end of April with the preferred design road planners want to pursue.

A view of 700 South from 700 East toward the I-15 overpass, St, George, Utah, May 6, 2022 | Photo by Mori Kessler, St. George News

With the release of the document, the public once again has the opportunity to comment online and in person about the proposed project.

UDOT announced its favored design, or “preferred alternative,” which planners refer to as a Single Point Urban Interchange, which is the type seen at the Green Springs/Exit 10 interchange in Washington City.

This design is considered to have the least impact on the overall area while also being the least expensive to build.

The public can both review the environmental assessment and submit comments on the project’s website.

Physical copies of the environmental assessment also can be found at:

  • St. George City Library Reference Desk | 88 W. 100 South, St. George
  • St. George City Office Engineering Department | 175 E. 200 North, St. George
  • UDOT Region 4 Office | 5340 S. 5300 West, Hurricane
  • UDOT Central Office | 4501 Constitution Blvd., Taylorsville, Utah

The public comment period opened April 28 and runs through June 11. Two public meetings are also being held – one online on May 16, and the other in-person on May 17.

Online Meeting: May 16 from 6-7 p.m. held via Zoom. Register in advance on the study website.

In-Person Open House: May 17 from 4-7 p.m. at Atwood Innovation Plaza at Utah Tech University, 453 S. 600 E. in St. George.

Comments can be submitted at the in-person public meeting, through the study website, by email, or mailed to I-15 St. George Study (c/o Avenue Consultants), 113 N. 200 East, Suite 3, St. George, UT 84770.

UDOT held its last open house in November where it highlighted four alternative designs and took additional public comment.

Road planners say a new interchange on I-15 at 700 South is needed to help alleviate current and future congestion at the nearby Dixie Drive/Exit 6 and St. George Boulevard/Exit 8 interchanges.

A basic overview of UDOT’s proposed 700 South interchange and the changes it would bring to the surrounding area | Graphic courtesy of the Utah Department of Transportation. St. George News

By 2050, congestion at the Exit 6 and 8 interchanges is projected to increase by 20% if nothing is done to address the issue beforehand, according to UDOT’s data. This could translate to cars being backed up several hundred feet onto the highway if nothing is done to fix the issue.

A 700 South interchange would also carry an added public safety benefit as it would provide ambulances a more direct route to the St. George Regional Hospital from I-15. Response times for police and firefighting units may also become quicker due to increased access to the highway versus running through that part of town.

UDOT’s preferred alternative would replace the current bridges over 700 South with longer ones and provide wider sidewalks beneath them for walking and cycling. A multi-use path is also planned for the area.

700 South will be widened on the east and west sides of the highway, which will require the partial or total acquisition of some properties along the roadway. Dual left turn lanes will also be added at 700 East and 900 East.

The 700 South project is part of a wider highway project involving the widening of I-15 to three lanes through St. George.

When UDOT representatives and consultants met with the St. George City Council on May 4 to give them a preview of what road planners had in mind to build, they stressed that the design shown in the environmental assessment was preliminary and prone to revision as the planning process moves forward.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2023, all rights reserved.

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