Traffic is pounding the pavement of highways in southern Utah in continually increasing numbers, but the busiest reporting station, which records 10,000-plus cars per day, lags far behind those along the Wasatch Front.

Which highways and areas get the most traffic in the urban and rural areas of the state? Interstate-15 gets the credit for both. But the 138,493 cars recorded as a daily average during a 12-month period at the 1700 South overpass far exceeds the 10,950 at the Bloomington Interchange near St. George.The 1700 South overpass has lost 7.6 percent of its traffic in the past six years, however, while the next busiest section of highway gained 7.4 percent. Interstate-15 at the 5900 South overpass logged 102,901 average daily vehicles during the past year.

Traffic in the St. George area has increased by a higher percentage than all but two reporting stations in the state. Since 1984, when 6,822 daily vehicles were recorded by the Utah Department of Transportation, traffic south of St. George has increased by a whopping 60.7 percent.

Two areas of I-15 in southern Utah record these figures: south of Leeds, Washington County, 9,265, 40.1 percent increase; and north of Beaver, 8,095, 36.9 percent increase.

The percentage increase is greater on a different freeway, although it doesn't handle as much traffic as I-15. I-215 has increased by about 110 percent in the past six years west of the 700 West overpass and north of the 3100 South overpass.

UDOT figures show daily vehicles have averaged 72,468 and 63,988, respectively, during the past year at those two stations.

While state officials are concerned about the increase in traffic along the busy Wasatch Front, where nearly 140,000 cars are recorded at one location and more than 102,000 at another, they don't have those worried on the interstate highways of southern Utah.


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Rural Utah traffic

Here are traffic increases in the rural areas of the state, the average daily vehicles during the past 12-month period and the percentage increases over 1984-85:

- U.S. 89 east of Kanab, 1,496, 35.1 percent

- U-95 south of Hanksville, 523, 14.8

- U.S. 6 northwest of Green River, 2,923, 39.3

- U.S. 191 near Moab, 3,145, 27.8

- U.S. 6 west of Helper, 4,676, 29.9

- U-14 east of Cedar City, 1,452, 19.3

- U-21 west of Beaver, 775, 4.3.