The wide-load truck detour along U.S. 93, Nevada State Route 319 and State Route 56 in Utah is going to continue for quite a while longer.

George Wallace, Senior Project Manager with the Arizona Department of Transportation, said in a letter to Lincoln County Commission chair Kevin Phillips that the detours could last up to 20 years, although he hoped it would not be that long. “The detour would be used for specific durations of up to two years at a time for bridge reconstruction projects,” he said.

Arizona DOT is working on repairing seven bridges in the 29.4 miles in the Virgin Valley Gorge, but are only allowed one bridge per project. Thus, when one project is completed, another one must be applied for, and depending upon when federal funding could be obtained, then construction could begin. As of this summer, there are six bridges more to go.

The letter, dated in April of this year, noted that approximately 500 trucks per day could be expected between 1-15 and Alamo and Crystal Springs, 30 trucks on U.S. 93 from Crystal Springs to the Panaca turnoff to Utah and 125 trucks per day between Panaca and the Nevada-Utah state line.

Since this has been going on starting last spring, it does not mean all the increased traffic will be oversized loads, many others have often been commercial vehicles just too wide to go through the narrow construction zones in the gorge.

County road supervisor Shane Cheeney said, however, the extended length of the detour is very likely to have a strong impact on the maintenance quality of county roads.