Design is under way for the final link to complete State Route 7 – better known as the Southern Parkway – in Southwest Utah.
WSP USA is the prime design consultant for the construction of a new eight-mile segment of the Southern Parkway on behalf of the Utah Department of Transportation, providing preconstruction engineering for the expressway that loops through Washington County.
The project includes multiple structures, interchanges and a drainage system. WSP is responsible for roadway, structures and drainage design as well as environmental reevaluations and right-of-way documents.
The Southern Parkway connects the communities of St. George City, Washington City and Hurricane City. The new segment will improve access to the St. George Regional Airport and create a more direct connection to Zion National Park from Interstate 15 (I-15) south of St. George.
“The new roadway alignment is located within Hurricane city limits and is essentially all greenfield construction,” said Dana Meier, project manager for WSP. “It extends north to State Route 9 and will complete a 33-mile expressway loop that connects to I-15 in the south as well as the north.”
WSP is designing a four-lane, grade-separated highway, but the plan is to only build a two-lane roadway to start.
“UDOT will operate one barrel of the parkway as a two-lane highway until traffic demand requires the full parkway buildout,” Meier said. “When UDOT determines that expansion of the highway is necessary, it will be able to convert from two lanes in a single barrel to a wider two-barrel, four-lane highway.”
UDOT wants the design for the connection to SR-9 to reflect the final configuration, which includes construction of a single-point urban interchange that accounts for the four-lane highway.
“Designing for the full buildout will allow UDOT to acquire the needed right-of-way at today’s prices,” said Tim Rose, deputy project manager for the firm. “It will allow the City of Hurricane and UDOT to control access and the master plan for the future road network, and ensures forward compatibility with the natural and built environment.”
As part of the $74 million project, interchanges will also be constructed along the Southern Parkway at the intersections with 4300 West and 3000 South.
Since joining the project in November, the WSP design team has been maintaining an aggressive schedule to accommodate the right-of-way acquisition process and factor into the design the potential addition of three to five bridges at local interchange locations.
The design phase of the project is expected to be completed in December 2018, while construction is expected to begin in February/March 2019.
The Southern Parkway curves around the southern end of Sand Hollow Reservoir and Sand Hollow State Park, where special attention is being given to the region’s environment before construction begins.
“WSP will be required to mitigate blowing sand near Sand Hollow reservoir,” Rose said. “In addition, threatened and endangered species surveys will be conducted for the desert tortoise and burrowing owls that inhabit the region.”
Prior to joining WSP, Meier had extensive experience working on transportation projects in Southern Utah. He also served as the UDOT project manager for the previous segments of the Southern Parkway.
“This was a project that I facilitated the feasibility study for 20 years ago,” he said. “I saw the population growth in the area that drove the need for this project. It is gratifying to see this project address the transportation needs of Washington County.”
Rose also has significant experience working for UDOT and being a project manager on large projects.
“This is my first major project since I joined WSP in January 2017, so it is extremely important to me personally that this project exceeds the expectations of UDOT Region 4 and the UDOT team working on this project,” Rose said. “This is WSP’s first major project in the Southern Utah market and we are looking forward to delivering a successful project on-time and on-budget.”
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