St. George bridge project underway

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ST. GEORGE -- St. George motorists will soon have another way to cross the Virgin River.

Crews began work on the Mall Drive Bridge project last week, a bridge that the city has been planning for six years.

The Mall Drive Bridge will connect Mall Drive on the west side of the river with 3000 East on the east side. Currently there are two main routes from the Little Valley and Washington Fields areas, but because of the major growth, those traffic routes become heavily congested.

“If you’ve driven city streets, particularly River Road, you know that there’s a lot of congestion,” said Larry Bulloch, St. George Public Works Director. “In fact, we’re approaching failure conditions at some of our major intersections.”

The $15 million project will provide a direct route across the Virgin River, and Bulloch says engineers estimate close to 30,000 cars will use it daily.

“If we can give them a more direct route into the city center, that will relieve traffic off of River Road,” Bulloch said. “Traffic engineers are projecting as much as 10-15 percent.”

Crews began drilling the footings for the bridge. It’s some of the most important work, not just because it’s the foundation, but because it’s so timely. They have to finish all of that work by April, when the native species in the river begin their spawning.

“If we can get the foundations installed prior to April, then we can work above ground laying girders and things like that without affecting the river and continue work during the summer,” Bulloch said.

The bridge is expected to be complete by this fall, and commuters say it couldn’t come soon enough.

“I’d say that the bridge will be nice,” said St. George resident Robert Madsen. “We can go ahead and have a bridge, why not.”

More information on the Mall Bridge project can be found on the city’s website, here: https://www.sgcity.org/traffic/showProject.php?id=27