SPRINGDALE, Washington County – Town, county and state officials celebrated the end of roadwork through Springdale Wednesday with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting that marked the completion of state Route 9’s reconstruction.
SR-9, the state road millions of tourists take each year to visit Zion National Park, was determined by Utah Department of Transportation to be in need of reconstruction. The road was getting worn down and was in need of renewal, which resulted in the road surface being torn down to the base and rebuilt.
“We saw a lot of fatigue on this roadway,” said Rick Torgerson, director of UDOT’s Region 4, “so it was time to put a new surface down.”
The project got underway in late 2016 and was completed in two phases. The first phase, which started in Rockville and stopped where it entered Springdale, wrapped up in April 2017. The second phase, which went through Springdale to Zion National Park, began in October 2017 and finished during the latter half of April.
“There have been a lot of challenges,” Torgerson said. “Obviously a very tight environment to construct the work in, heavy tourism traffic, Zion is getting over four million visitors a year, so its been a very challenging environment.”
At times during the construction, traffic through Springdale was reduced to a single, one-way lane.
“We had a minor role in terms of the project itself, but we do attract a bit of traffic,” Zion National Park superintendent Jeff Bradybaugh said.
Torgerson said benefits of the project include wider sidewalks for pedestrians, bike lanes on either side of the roadway, as well as moving overhead power lines in downtown Springdale underground.
“It’s made a huge difference,” Springdale Mayor Stan Smith said of the overhead power line removal.