The city of St. George is home to less than 100,000 year-round permanent residents. But come summertime, and even some holidays and weekends in the shoulder season and that population swells. Drawn by the region’s stunning natural features, Zion National Park, and the area’s state parks, tourists flock to St. George for meals, hotels, entertainment, and more. This can lead to traffic and congestion on the city’s small roadways. Add in current road construction projects, and things get even worse.
As spring arrives, and with it, warmer weather, visitors are already flocking to the area to enjoy its natural features. For year-round residents, this means more traffic on their daily commutes. Wondering what current road construction projects are underway in St. George, Utah? Let’s take a look.
River Road Widening Project
The widening of River Road has been a project for many years in the making. While that project is finally underway, it’s now been causing even more traffic headaches as crews worked to clear debris, level new pavement, and more.
River Road is perhaps the biggest of the current road construction projects in the area. As of the week of March 22 to the 28, road crews had moved north of the intersection where Riverside Drive and River Road meet. This week, they’ll be removing the existing block privacy wall, gutters, curbs, and sidewalks in this next section. Once that’s complete, they’ll begin clearing the way for what will eventually be a new southbound lane of River Road.
In addition to adding a lane, the roadway project also includes the installation of new, upgraded storm drains. The new storm drain system will better handle heavy rains that frequently flood the roadways and increase the chances of accidents during stormy or rainy weather.
Elsewhere on River Road, crews are also working on widening the bridge that carries the road over the Virgin River.
While construction is underway, part of River Road does remain open. Drivers will be able to use two northbound and two southbound lanes of River Road during daytime hours. At night, this will reduce to one lane in each direction.
Despite these lanes remaining open, travelers and commuters should still expect traffic and delays in the area. The city of St. George has encouraged drivers to take a different route when possible to avoid the area until the construction project is finished.
Completing the Southern Parkway
Another of the area’s current road construction projects is the completion of the Southern Parkway.
The Southern Parkway currently comes to an end where it meets Sand Hollow Road. This parkway provides a route between Sand Hollow Reservoir and State Route 0 to the west. However, plans have been in place for several years now to extend the roadway further. Eventually, Southern Parkways will connect to state Route 9 at 2800 West, in Hurricane.
Officials originally planned to begin work on the final section in late 2019. This start date was pushed back until March of 2020 when it finally began. The Utah Department of Transportation says that the final extension will be built by early 2021, at a cost of $75 million.
Staying Safe While Driving Near Current Road Construction Projects
In most cases, construction zones feature slower speed limits than the same roadways typically have. But that doesn’t always mean that drivers follow the limits. And additional distractions from the construction, as well as increased traffic and congestion, can increase the number of accidents as well.
Knowing where current road construction projects are located can help you plan ahead. You might opt to travel a different route. Or, if that isn’t possible, you can still leave earlier than normal so that delays don’t leave you rushing.
Other ways to stay safe while driving in construction zones include:
- Slow down to the speed limit, or lower if there is heavy traffic or traffic is moving slowly
- Avoid any distractions. Put down your cellphone and turn down the radio to allow you to focus. Ask any passengers to stay quiet until you are out of the construction zones. Even if you have hands-free calling or texting in your vehicle, it’s best to avoid both while in a construction zone.
- Keep your eyes on the road. Scan back and forth frequently to check for any workers or other obstructions that could be in the roadway.
- Avoid stopping in a construction zone. If you experience car trouble or need to stop for an emergency, try to get away from the construction zone first, if possible. If this is not possible, use your hazard lights and come to a stop slowly so that other drivers have time to react.
Urban roadways already have a higher rate of crashes each year than rural areas. Construction projects, as well as heavy traffic, are certainly contributing factors in many accidents.
Avoiding current road construction projects as much as possible can help you avoid unneeded delays and hazardous traffic on your way to work or while on vacation. Of course, this isn’t always an option. Slowing down, keeping your eyes on the road, and avoiding any distractions can help you get through construction zones safely so that you can continue on to your next destination.
Tracking Current Road Construction Projects in St. George
Keeping up-to-date on current road construction projects in St. George, Utah will help locals and visitors alike avoid some traffic headaches on their way to work or for a day of fun. But with the Utah Department of Transportation frequently launching new projects, those on this list will be replaced with new projects as soon as they’re finished--and new projects will likely be launched even before that!
UDOT keeps an updated map of all road construction projects going on throughout the state of Utah. You can use this map to check current projects in your area. Or, use it to see where you might experience construction delays before a big road trip or vacation elsewhere in the state.