The first four miles of a new four-lane divided highway running along the US states of Utah and Arizona as part of Route 7 has opened to traffic.

The highway, opened by the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and also known as the Southern Parkway, begins at Utah’s southernmost interchange Exit 2 extending towards a St. George City’s river road.

The $58.5m first phase of the project involved the construction of Interchange-15 (I-15) and also includes interchanges over East Frontage Road and River Road.

In December 2008 the interchange extending across I-15 at Milepost 2 opened to local traffic while the parkway was underway.

The next phase of the highway includes an extension to the city’s new airport. This is currently underway.

Later stages will circle through eastern Washington County.

UDOT, the School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration and the City of St. George helped fund the project.