The idea of an IRONMAN triathlon isn’t new to St. George – the city has hosted IRONMAN events every year since 2010. But what about the upcoming game this Saturday? Expect it to be bigger than ever, especially for anyone looking to negotiate traffic around Washington County.
Saturday’s race starts early in the morning and doesn’t finish until midnight, marking a return to the full 140-mile distance used in previous triathlons in the region in the early 2010s, meaning the route will cover a large swath of the county , including along major roads such as State Route 18 and State Route 9, which are the main roads leading to Zion National Park.
Additionally, this year’s event is the official 2021 IRONMAN World Championship, which was held to make up for last year’s cancellation of the main event due to COVID-19 concerns, and Hawaii was originally planned for the event.
Organizers say the results could mean the biggest IRONMAN event ever in southern Utah and the biggest impact on regional traffic.
Some locals may have noticed some effects. While the official game will take place on Saturday, May 7, athletes, volunteers and spectators have already begun to arrive. Work has already begun on areas such as SR-18 en route to Veyo and the area along SR-9 in Hurricane, and downtown St. George is ready to host the Iron Man Village at Town Square Park.
Dave Hughes, regional manager for Utah Barricade, said planning for the event had been in the works for several months, with the company providing a number of traffic cones, signs and other tools to help build local roads for the race. For events that involve multiple cities, traversing state and local roads along the way, this effort requires collaboration between police departments, city governments, state departments of transportation, IRONMAN officials, and others.
While many St. George area residents may have to find alternate routes Saturday, local police forces have worked to ensure that all parties traveling during the event are as safe as possible, officials said.
“We plan to have people at every intersection along the city of Washington, whether it’s police department personnel, public street departments, parks departments or others,” said Lt. Corey Klotz of the Washington City Police Department.
The race is scheduled to begin at 6:15am at Hurricane Sand Hollow Reservoir, where the swimming portion of the race is also scheduled. From there, athletes will cycle west through much of the county before eventually taking off on foot and crossing the finish line in downtown St. George.
Some road closures will continue until 7pm. Much of the city around Tabernacle St and north to Bluff St will remain closed before and during the event.
For most travelers in the area, trips may take longer than usual, although alternate routes should get everyone where they want to go.
To help motorists understand which roads are closed, which are partially open and which are not affected, the local government has put together a list of maps and timetables online at ironman.greaterzion.com. Additionally, some maps and other information are available at www.TheSpectrum.com. Some of the main impacts are listed below:
hurricane to wyo
- The SR7 heading north to State Street will close in the early hours while the race transitions from swimming to cycling.
- Continue onto Telegraph Street and the race will enter Red Hill Parkway below Veterans Memorial Highway.
- Cyclists will head west onto Snow Canyon Parkway, cross Centre Street and then onto Old Highway 91.
- Routes heading north towards Veyo Gunlock Road will also be closed and athletes will detour to State Route 18 for the first lap of St. George.
- Once at Veyo on Gunlock Road, athletes will head south on Hwy 91
waijo to st george
- For the second loop of the cycling stage, athletes will head west at the intersection of State Street and Red Hills Parkway and continue through Snow Canyon Parkway.
- From Snow Canyon Parkway, they’ll turn onto Snow Canyon Avenue and back on State Route 18.
- Once they clear the intersection again, they will head south via Diagon Street.
st george road
- From Diagonal St, competitors will pass through Main St and drop off their cycling gear in exchange for running gear.
- Cross Main St back to Diagonal Competitors will run to Bluff Street and cross Snow Canyon Parkway.
- On entering 1300 W, athletes will cross Sunset Boulevard and onto Dixie Drive.
- A loop will be formed at 100 N, allowing runners to double back, following their way back to the Main Street finish line.
“People are frustrated with the closed roads. It’s a challenge,” Klotz said. “But if we can work together as a community then I think that could be a good thing and we can make it a successful event.”
Elle Cabrera covers breaking news and topics. Please help us keep making this content at thespectrum.com/subscribe.