Which group of Utahns is more important: Utah Jazz fans trying to get home from a game or business owners along 2700 South?

Wasatch Constructors, the I-15 reconstruction contractor, was faced with that choice Thurs-day and the merchants came out winners. Southbound I-15 will close at 10 p.m. Thursday as scheduled.Wasatch, which has promised to complete the 2700 South overpass by May 12, announced Wednesday it would have to shut down southbound I-15, between I-80 East and 3300 South, from 10 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday if the bridge was to remain on schedule.

The only problem is, the second game of Utah's playoff series with San Antonio begins at 8:30 p.m. Thursday in the Delta Center. Thousands of fans could enter southbound I-15 afterward only to find it closed in a few miles.

Wasatch had planned to close southbound I-15 Tuesday at 10 p.m. as well, but delayed the closure by two hours to avoid a conflict with the first game of the series. That put crews behind schedule, and a prompt start to Thursday's work was seen as critical if Wasatch is to open the bridge next week.

The closure was the morning drive-time topic of conversation on more than one local radio station Thursday. A short time later, Wasatch and the Utah Department of Transportation met but decided against delaying the closure.

"In order to complete that bridge (on time), we have to work every night to do it," said Wasatch spokesman Brian Mauldwin. "The merchants in that area have been without a bridge for about a year, so they are very much looking forward to the bridge opening."

The U-201 exit also will be closed, so eastbound I-80 will be the only exit open beyond the 500 South entrance. State Street can be used as an alternate.