Renovations planned for Southern Utah interchange

Posted at 10:07 PM, Jul 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-22 00:07:22-04

ST. GEORGE, Utah – An interchange in southern Utah is getting a facelift, and it will be converted to become a diverted diamond interchange.

Dana Meier, Utah Department of Transportation program engineer, said I-15 exit 8 in St. George is a busy one.

“It’s one of the most congested interchanges we have in Washington County,” he said.

The goal is to lay all of the blacktop by Black Friday in November. Meier said they consulted people about their approach to the project.

“We asked them, ‘Would you rather have, you know, staged construction that’s spread out a couple of years and not as much impact, or just a lot of pain really fast?’ And they overall choose a lot of pain," he said.

The divergent diamond interchange plan is a model that allows for easier left-hand turns. The design has been used in northern Utah, but this is the first one to be used south of Utah County.

“We’re able to utilize almost the same footprint that the diamond interchange had, but what we do is we switch the direction of travel across the bridge,” Meier said.

UDOT is also letting the contractor develop the design, rather than just giving them a blueprint to follow.

“Theoretically, they’re able to innovate the best project that you can get, and having them help design it is where you get the innovation,” Meier said.

UDOT is also working to widen the highway between St. George and Cedar City and complete one phase of the Southern Parkway.

Meier said the projects are on schedule, and drivers should start seeing construction cones at exit 8 starting July 29.