ST. GEORGE – Motorists can look forward to some congestion relief in the new year with the pending completion of the underpass connecting Red Hills Parkway and Red Cliffs Drive under Interstate 15.
The project, which includes the widening of I-15 between Exits 8 and 10 (the St. George Boulevard and Green Springs Drive interchanges) to three lanes, is anticipated to be primarily completed and potentially opened around Christmas, according to the project’s website.
There is a chance the opening of the underpass could be slightly delayed however, Kevin Kitchen, a spokesman for the Utah Department of Transportation, said Monday.
Issues involving current drops in temperature may put a short stall on completion as a steady temperature of 45-50 degrees is needed for aspects of the project like paving and work on the soil nails wall.
If there is a delay, Kitchen said, it shouldn’t be a big one as opening the underpass could be moved to the week after Christmas or the first week of 2017.
“We’re seeing how the weather treats us,” Kitchen said. “The goal is to have it done by Christmas.”
The project is also a joint venture between UDOT and the city of St. George. The overall project is anticipated to cost around $24 million, according to the project website.
Work on the underpass and highway-widening began June 1 and is intended to help cut back on traffic congestion experienced at the Exit 8 and Exit 10 interchanges.
“UDOT (is) very concerned about the congestion and wants to make sure that I-15 continues to flow,” St. George Public Works Director Cameron Cutler said.
Once completed, the underpass will allow motorists to bypass both the Exit 8 and Exit 10 interchanges, he said.
“That’s a big deal to UDOT and to the cities,” Cutler said.
Congestion issues at the St. George Boulevard/Exit 8 interchange have been eased with some thanks to recent improvements put in by UDOT, Cutler said, though he added the Green Springs/Exit 10 interchange is the spot where the congestion is felt the most.
The Green Springs/Exit 10 interchange is likely the most-hated interchange in the area, particularly during the holiday season.
According to the project’s website, once the underpass is open, it is anticipated to reduce long-term congestion at both interchanges by 10-to-15 percent.
Between Monday and Friday, project managers expect to install a traffic signals on Red Hills Parkway and Red Cliffs Drive and install utilities, among other tasks related to I-15 and the project proper.
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