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Southern Utah road project may finish early

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Posted at 10:21 PM, Nov 14, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-15 00:21:59-05

ST. GEORGE, Utah - It’s the final push in a project that’s changing the way traffic runs at one of the busiest interchanges in southern Utah, but Utah Department of Transportation officials said a short term road closure will allow them to finish ahead of schedule.

The intersection of St. George Boulevard and the I-15 interchange has been under construction since late July, transforming the overpass into what’s called a “diverging diamond.”

The diverging diamond is a configuration designed to streamline left hand turns, and it’s one UDOT says will improve efficiency at exit eight. It’s an area that has seen tremendous growth in the past several years.

Crews originally planned to be finished before Black Friday, but they’re on schedule to finish next week, much to the relief of some businesses.

“People, they don’t stop,” said Leo Ruiz, manager of the St. George Food Mart. “They see construction signs; they don’t get off the exits.”

Ruiz says since construction began, they’ve seen a 50 percent drop in business, and they hope that the accelerated opening will bring customers back.

“That’s going to be wonderful,” Ruiz said. “And I will give a 100 percent OK on the project, because it’s already too much.”

Other business owners have watched with curiosity. The new configuration will be the first of its kind south of Utah County, and one business owner, Del Bracken, said drivers will have to learn to navigate.

“I’ve never seen one of these roads,” Bracken said. “The way it’s designed if you’re following other cars it’s easy. It’ll take getting used to.”

Crews will implement a number of closures over the weekend to complete the final details to install lights and finish asphalt before the Tuesday opening. The closures and restrictions are as follows:

CLOSURES:

St. George Boulevard between 1000 East and River Road From 11 p.m. on Saturday (11/16) through 6 a.m. on Tuesday (11/19) Motorists should use 100 South as an alternate east/west route.

I-15 Northbound Off-Ramp - NIGHTS ONLY

Saturday (11/17) from 11 p.m. - 8 a.m.

Sunday (11/18) from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m.

Motorists who want to exit the northbound off-ramp should use Dixie Drive (Exit 5) or Bluff Street (Exit 6) as alternate exits.

RESTRICTIONS:

I-15/St. George Blvd Freeway On-Ramps & Off-Ramps

From 11 p.m. on Saturday (11/16)

through 6 a.m. on Tuesday (11/19)

Only right-turn movements will be allowed.

UDOT officials said while the intersection will be open on Tuesday, a number of small projects will still be underway. Those should finish up by December 2013.

More information on the project can be found on UDOT’s website.

UDOT also created a video that illustrates how to use the new overpass design, which can be viewed below.