Crews constructing the pedestrian tunnel under Bluff Street.
One of St. George's busiest stretches of road is now reopened after construction crews completed a major milestone ahead of schedule.
The new pedestrian tunnel running under Bluff Street just south of the Main Street intersection is now accessible to residents after considerable construction was completed.
Valued at approximately $3 million, the whole project is scheduled to be completed in September, but UDOT and its crews aimed to get the part with the heaviest impact on traffic out of the way first — the tunnel — and that is exactly what happened, according to UDOT officials.
The tunnel connects the east and west sides of the Hilton Drive Trail and provides a way for pedestrians and cyclists to safely bypass the increasingly busy Main-Bluff Street intersection. In addition to the safety aspect of the project, it also will increase the connectivity of the trail system in that part of the city.
Officials closed the roadway on June 13 so crews could start excavation work.
"Essentially this project improves safety, connects communities and gives people another active transportation option — and those are three things that are important to UDOT," said UDOT Spokesman Mitchell Shaw.
The project is being facilitated by the Utah Department of Transportation and the city of St. George. Both city and state road officials said the project is intended to help improve pedestrian safety and congestion at the busy intersection of Main Street and Bluff Street.
"We are very happy with the progress on this project and for what it will mean for the community once it's finished," said Shaw. "It's scheduled to be complete by the end of this year, likely sometime in the fall. The work has been done in conjunction with the city of St. George, and includes a pedestrian tunnel that will run under Bluff Street between Main Street and the I-15 southbound ramps. The tunnel will connect the east and west sides of the Hilton Drive Trail, giving users a safe connection across Bluff Street, avoiding the busy Main Street traffic signal."
The tunnel was constructed near the site of an auto-pedestrian crash during this year's Ironman World Championships, where a person was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross at least six lanes of traffic at night.
"We're hoping this will be a win-win," Kevin Kitchen, a UDOT spokesman, told St. George News.
The tunnel project originally was supposed to start in December 2021, but due to supply chain problems, key components needed for the tunnel did not arrive on time, according to UDOT officials.
A map detailing the general location of the new tunnel running under south Bluff Street. (UDOT photo)
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