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UTAH COUNTY — If you are getting home late at night, chances are it is because you live in Utah County, where lane restrictions on I-15 are causing significant delays for commuters.
It could be one of the last major disruptions to traffic, as crews work to finish I-15 Core by the end of the year. The problem starts in Pleasant Grove and goes all the way through Orem. Crews have narrowed the lanes down to just three, so they can finish pouring concrete. The problem is traffic is bottle-necked and backing up throughout most of the day, and especially during the evening commute.
Traffic at a standstill has become a familiar sight during the two and a half years of construction on I-15 in Utah County.
"It's pretty hectic, and there's a lot of detours," said contractor Julian Castillo. "I have to be to a job site on time and with all the detours it's a headache."
And as for commuters, most of them know exactly where they'll have to slow down due to traffic.
"Every time you are coming through the American Fork area, you get that every time," said Kyle Haskell. "And I'm tired of waiting an hour and a half everyday to get from Salt Lake back down to Utah County. I understand it is needed, but I'm tired of it."
The delays are even worse right now, after UDOT closed southbound lanes through Orem down to just three lanes, causing traffic to back up into American Fork at times. It's a temporary closure for the next two weeks, as crews finish pouring concrete on the new freeway.
Every time you are coming through the American Fork area, you get that every time. And I'm tired of waiting an hour and a half everyday to get from Salt Lake back down to Utah County. I understand it is needed, but I'm tired of it.
"We are 90 percent done now," said Muriel Xochimitl, a spokesperson for UDOT. "But we still have a ways to go before the end of the year."
UDOT is aware the lane closures are adding several minutes to southbound traffic.
"We just ask that people plan for some extra travel time, particularly during those morning and evening commute hours," Xochimitl said.
As UDOT asks for the patience of drivers, they do promise wide open, gridlock free traffic is coming very soon in as little as two months from now. This is a month earlier than the expected completion date of December.
UDOT says the contractor is working hard to meet the challenge issued by Governor Herbert that the construction be completed by Thanksgiving.
With all the delays, a few freeway exits opening up soon should help minimize some traffic. Half of the 1600 North interchange will be open by the end of the week and the interchanges at 800 North and Center Street won't require any more major closures. But plan on another two weeks of delays heading Southbound through Orem.