The road from Hurricane north through La Verkin to US-91 at Anderson Junction was added to the state highway system in 1912, and a branch was added from La Verkin Junction east to Zion National Park in 1916 and beyond to Mt. Carmel Junction in 1923. In the 1920s, the State Road Commission assigned State Route 15 to the road from Anderson Junction to the park, while State Route 16 included the branch to Hurricane (and continued southeast to Arizona via present SR-59). In 1927, the state legislature extended SR-15 through the park to Mt. Carmel Junction, and added a new State Route 17, which formed a cutoff from US-91 at Harrisburg Junction east to Hurricane. SR-17 also included SR-16 from Hurricane north to La Verkin Junction and southeast to Big Plain Junction, where the realigned SR-16 turned north to SR-15 at Rockville. The portion of SR-17 from Hurricane to Big Plain Junction was split off as SR-59 in 1931, leaving SR-15 and SR-17 as a loop off US-91 through Hurricane and La Verkin, with SR-15 continuing east through Zion National Park.
Construction began through and east of the national park in 1927, on the portion that had been added to the state highway system in 1923 and to SR-15 in 1927. The Nevada Construction Company completed the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel in 1930, after three years of construction and a cost of $1,896,000. SR-15 and SR-17 were swapped in 1969, giving SR-15 the route from Harrisburg Junction and SR-17 its present route. In the 1977 renumbering, SR-15 was renumbered SR-9 due to the existence of Interstate 15.
Read more about this topic: Utah State Route 9
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