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UDOT keeps close eye over holiday traffic

(UDOT's Traffic Operation Center. Credit: Paul Nelson)

WASATCH FRONT – Transportation officials are trying to keep traffic problems to a minimum, even though the snow and holiday traffic have them warning everyone to be ready for headaches.  They say the issues won’t just happen before and after Thanksgiving, but during the holiday, also.

Construction crews have lifted most of the lane restrictions on state roads in order to make room for the expected holiday traffic.  However, UDOT Traveler Information Manager Lisa Miller says there were certain restrictions that had to stay in place.

Miller says, “[They include] I-84 from Riverdale to Layton Parkway, I-215 in Murray and in Lehi on SR 92 to Main Street.”

Meteorologists say a heavy amount of snow will hit the I-15 corridor beginning Wednesday night, and by Saturday, ten inches are expected to have hit the Salt Lake Valley floor.  The weather is likely to cause delays in Utah, but Miller expects an even bigger delay for anyone using I-15 to get to Nevada or California.

“The Arizona Department of Transportation has reduced I-15 to one lane in each direction in the Virgin River Gorge,” Miller says.  This is likely to cause a 30 minute slowdown.

She says the UDOT app is a good resource to use if you need to see how bad the traffic is before you go, but she also says Google Maps is surprisingly effective.

“You can turn on the traffic layer and you can zoom in and determine if it’s better to use I-15 or US 89,” Miller says.

The snowfall is expected to be heavy enough for UDOT to tell drivers to avoid making what they call “discretionary trips,” which include things like going to the store or to the movies.

Miller says, “If you don’t have to go anywhere, it’s probably a good idea to just stay put.”