Drivers slowing to watch work in Gorge causing major backup, delays

Stock Image| St. George News

MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — Drivers slowing to watch the crews laying asphalt in the final phase of the Virgin River Gorge bridge construction project are the apparent culprits of major backups and slowdowns on Interstate 15 Wednesday evening.

“I-15 southbound is a mess,” Arizona Department of Public Safety Sgt. John Bottoms said. “Traffic is backed up from milepost 18 because of the paving crews.”

Bottoms said the backup is due to motorists who drive by the crews and slow down to watch them lay asphalt.

“I’m all for safety, but 8 mph is a little too slow to drive by,” Bottoms said.

Motorists traveling through the area are advised to plan ahead, allow for traffic and construction delays, and drive with extra caution.

Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from Mapquest.com, St. George News
Highway 91 between St. George, Utah, and Littlefield, Arizona | Image from Mapquest.com, St. George News

Following too closely, particularly in a construction zone, creates an unnecessary safety risk that often results in drivers skidding off into the median when the car in front of them stops or slows, he said. Motorists are always urged to stay a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them when driving.

Alternate route and tips for drivers

Those seeking to avoid the backup may take Highway 91 as an alternate route. The highway bypasses the Gorge entirely, intersecting with I-15 at Littlefield, Arizona, to the south and connecting to St. George at the north via Santa Clara and Sunset Boulevard. See map included in this article.

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