UDOT discusses plans to reduce congestion on the road to Zion

Posted at 9:46 PM, Aug 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-19 23:46:24-04

SPRINGDALE, UTAH - The road leading to Zion National Park is overcrowded, and that’s why the Utah Department of Transportation has it as part of a long-range plan that is looking at ways to alleviate the congestion.

State Route 9 is one of two roads leading to Zion National Park, and with an estimated 3.5 million visitors a year, the road takes quite a beating. Rockville resident Joe Merino said he sees that congestion first hand.

“It’s busy, quite busy,” Merino said. “When I’m here, it starts at about five, five thirty in the morning.”

UDOT’s long range rural plan places the 16 miles of two-lane road as one of it’s phase two priority projects. Dana Meier, a UDOT Region Four program engineer, said it’s a section of road they’ve been considering for some time.

“Zion National Park has seen a tremendous uptick in the number of visitors they get, and it’s been growing every year,” Meier said. “So we did a corridor study… and in addition to that, we also have a project that we will be building.”

That project is estimated to cost close to $15 million, and it will widen the road between Rockville and Springdale. Crews will also do a full depth reconstruction on the road through Springdale.

Residents like Merino said that’s good news, as it will improve the situation, but they’ll have to live through the construction first. On an already tight road, there aren’t any alternate routes. Meier said they’re still trying to decide the best way to accommodate traffic, which would potentially put flaggers throughout Springdale.

“We’ve been doing a little bit of update with the city, getting their feedback about timing, when’s the best time to build this project,” Meier said. “There’s some real challenges about how we’re going to get this road built.”

Meier said that project wouldn’t begin until fall 2016.