CEDAR TOWN — After being closed for nearly eight months, the Coal Creek Bridge in Cedar City is once again open to traffic.
After a brief ceremony at the newly rebuilt bridge on Tuesday morning, Cedar City Mayor Garth Green, along with other officials and representatives of companies who worked on the project, cut the ceremonial ribbon as orange barrels and signs “Road closed” have been removed from the roadway.
“We’ve been looking forward to this for seven or eight months,” Green said during his brief remarks. “I can’t believe how many times I’ve driven down Coal Creek Road thinking I was going to cross that bridge, and there was a major gap.”
“I’m just excited for this new wide deck and the safety features,” Green added. “Drivers and pedestrians can now feel safer with these much-needed improvements.”
In addition to having wider traffic lanes, the completely rebuilt bridge includes a pedestrian sidewalk on its north side, in addition to chain-link security fencing on both sides of the bridge along portions overlooking Interstate 15.
“The only thing it’s missing is a foot of snow,” Green joked, imagining snow plows crossing the bridge.
Almost as if on cue, a few snowflakes began to fall and swirl amid a fierce breeze as Green finished speaking.
Following the mayor’s remarks, Utah Department of Transportation Region Four Director Rick Torgerson also spoke, saying the project meets UDOT’s mission statement, which is “d ‘to improve the quality of life through transport’.
“It really helps improve the quality of life,” he said. “Not just for commerce and the cars crossing it, but it really connects the east side and the west side of Cedar City with active transportation – a lane across the bridge, which the existing bridge didn’t have. So that adds a lot of value.
Torgerson also praised the “great collaborative effort” of Cedar City and UDOT officials who worked together to bring the project to fruition.
Torgerson also joined Green in praising the construction crews for their work.
“Our contractor, Wadsworth Brothers, has done an incredible job,” said Torgerson, also thanking the various engineers, planners and consultants who were involved in the project.
Like Previously reported in Cedar City News, construction on the $8.65 million project began in late June 2021, after being in the planning and development phase for several years. Originally a roundabout was planned for the roads that meet on the west side of the bridge, but this plan was switched to a T-intersection where Kitty Hawk Drive meets Bulldog Road after safety and logistical concerns were raised by residents and business owners.
One of the first vehicles to cross the newly reopened bridge was a pickup truck driven by Cedar City Councilman Scott Phillips with former Cedar City Mayor Maile Wilson-Edwards in the passenger seat. Both were cited as having helped bring the project to fruition, as were City Manager Paul Bittmenn and Utah Transportation Commissioner Donna Law, a Cedar City resident who teaches at Southern Utah University.
Although the bridge is now structurally complete, officials say some finishing touches remain, including resurfacing the pavement and painting the lines on it. This work should be done later in the spring, along with the addition of trees and other landscaping in adjacent areas.
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