The Employee Advisory Council met August 10, 2015. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Employee Survey
  • Lack of Pay Raises for Supervisory and Level IV Positions
  • Make Staff Meetings More Memorable/Use for Team Building
  • Internal Supervisor/Employee Disputes or Disagreements
  • Hand Tools for Trades and Crafts Policy
  • Administrative Leave in Lieu of Cash-Based Incentive Awards
  • Across Group Awards
  • Status of the Behavior-Based Safety Awareness Program / Incentives for the Program
  • On-Boarding Process
  • ASI Status

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC August 2015 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

A new friendly face is riding along on Utah’s highways with the UDOT Incident Management Team drivers: A soft, warm, fuzzy face of a teddy bear.

The teddy bear is part of a new program focused on helping those with young children cope in the face of accidents.  IMT drivers are now carrying teddy bears to give away to those affected by a crash, especially since it can be a frightening experience for young children.

A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.

A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.


“The Utah Highway Patrol started handing out teddy bears to young children that had been involved in an accident. It seemed to help the child take his or her mind off the accident and get them something to comfort them,” UDOT  state IMT manager Jeff Reynolds said. “The Incident Management Team has adopted the same program, due to limited space in police cruisers. In its short time, we have seen a meaningful impact on those we have been able to help.”

Reynolds said a citizen donation program is being considered in the future. UDOT and the Department of Public Safety will have more news when it becomes available.


IMT Bear 1

A variety of teddy bears and other plush animals await their ride with the Incident Management Team.

The first goal of the IMT team is to make sure those involved in an accident and working an accident scene are safe and then clear the roads for other drivers to prevent secondary crashes. You’ll find them helping to change a tire, putting warning signs up to protect officials at an accident scene, giving a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, or cleaning up after an accident. After the crash scene is secure, they want to help those in the crash feel safe and get the drivers on their way.

Please remember to give IMT and Highway Patrol adequate room when you see them passing and slow down to decrease the possibility of a secondary accident.

This post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.

September 1st, 2015

Formidable Phragmites

No Comments, Employee Focus, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT Region One is using a GIS app to help control an invasive weed that makes Utah wetlands inhospitable to native plants and waterfowl.

When phragmites get a foothold, it crowds out native plants like cattail, bulrush, and saltgrass – native species that provide food sources and cover for birds. Randy Berger, Wetland Manager with Utah Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have a single good thing to say about the weed. Berger manages wetland areas in northern Utah.

Phragmites in Northern Utah

Phragmites in Northern Utah. Photo by Lindsey Durtschi

UDOT manages the area beyond the pavement within the right-of-way, which involves regular mowing and getting rid of invasive weeds, including phragmites. UDOT Region One Area Supervisor Kelly Andrew, along with maintenance crews, has been using a GIS app that tracks the location of phragmites. He and Berger have been working together to fight weeds for years.

Andrew needed a way to keep track of the location of big patches of phragmites. Getting rid of the stuff is a three-year endeavor, and locating, spraying and tracking the spread of phragmites is time consuming. The new weed spraying app, in its second year of use, has made UDOT’s weed abatement effort more effective and efficient.

Kelly Andrew of Region One

UDOT Region One area supervisor Kelly Andrew

The app was developed by Seth Anderson of AECOM. He modified the ArcGIS collector app to create the easy-to-use tool. The app works on a smartphone or a tablet. Users simply choose the weed on a pick list, add comments, and create a point on an online map.

“The app automatically stores the date and username when the point is created,” says Anderson. “The Collector app allows for collecting and editing points even when the device does not have a data connection, too.  He just has to sync the data when he gets back to his office and has Wi-Fi connection.” Andrew introduced the app to Berger, who is now using the app to track phragmites treatment areas.

GIS mapping apps are a simple and effective way to collect and track and store data. Andrew recommends others at UDOT consider using an app. “If you think you have a problem that can be solved with a GIS tool, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Weed Sprayer Rig

For more information, contact the GIS team at

For more posts about putting GIS to work, see the following links:

Getting it Right

GIS Apps to Improve Safety

The Employee Advisory Council met May 20, 2015. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Performance Plans
  • Team Building Exercises
  • Mechanics’ ASE Certification Bonuses
  • Policy Limiting the Length of Time Plowing
  • Reimbursements for CDL Physicals
  • Lack of Pay Raises for Supervisory and Level IV Positions
  • Clothing Allowance for Paint Crew
  • Communicable Diseases and Trash Pick Up
  • Color of Safety Clothing
  • Make Staff Meetings More Memorable / Use for Team Building
  • Rest Areas
  • Hiring Panels
  • Internal Supervisor / Employee Disputes or Disagreements
  • Equipment Replacement
  • Hand Tools for Trades and Crafts Policy
  • Cash-Based Incentive Awards

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC May 2015 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

BRIGHAM CITY — UDOT’s 1100 South/U.S. 91 DDI project in Brigham City has been selected as a Top 10 finalist in America’s Transportation Awards, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

The northern Utah project is competing against projects from eight other states to win first place in the competition, which includes a cash prize that will be donated to a deserving charity in Utah.

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

“This Top 10 project is one more example of why UDOT has a reputation for being a national leader in quality and innovation,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “I extend my congratulations to everyone who is associated with the project.”

Braceras suggested that anyone who would like to support the Brigham City project in the competition for best transportation project in the United States can participate in the voting for America’s Transportation Awards. “You can vote as many as 10 times per day per email address,” Braceras said.

Voting is currently underway online for the People’s Choice Award in the America’s Transportation Awards competition. To vote, go to

Voting will continue through Sept. 11.

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped "float the DDI" on geotechnically difficult terrain

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped “float the DDI” on geotechnically difficult terrain

The UDOT project is among 10 finalists in the competition. It is competing against projects from Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Carolina and Montana.

The Brigham City project qualifies in two top categories. One is the National Grand Prize, honoring the nation’s top transportation project as determined by a panel of industry experts and professionals. The other is the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by the public through online balloting. The winner in each category receives a $10,000 donation to a charity or scholarship fund.

In order to be selected as a Top 10 project, it first had to be selected as a regional winner. The project won in the “Under Budget” category for an innovative design that could have cost as much as $100 million, but through out-of-the-box engineering and sensitivity to geological issues around the area, cost only $14 million.

With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the flow of the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.

The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow.  The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur.  This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps, and frequent crashes when they did.  Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.

UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive.  Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable.  Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks.  Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets.

The answer: innovate.  Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils.  Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months.  Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.

The result of all this innovation was an efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The America’s Transportation Awards competition is co-sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Crews from the Cottonwood Maintenance Shed 2433 and members from the South Valley Maintenance Shed 2427 are being awarded a Silver Barrel for going above and beyond the call of duty to save homes and and roadways after a landslide in Little Cottonwood Canyon in May.

233 Landslide 01

After finding out that an embankment was starting to slide toward homes near Alta, the crew surveyed the problem and came back quickly to address it. Working in driving rain and extreme weather conditions, the crew took three days to remove mud, rock and debris  to keep it from sliding into homes and onto the road. The crew also spoke with concerned homeowners and caretakers about what they were doing to save the homes, and helped everyone feel comfortable, even during the trying circumstances.

“[The crew] worked hard in extreme conditions, and they never complained once,” said Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Station supervisor. “They really made it happen with a good attitude even with longer shifts.”

Ultimately, they were able to stabilize the hill and install a barrier so no further damage would occur.

233 Landslide 03

“The crew made a quick response and resolution to a possibly serious situation. UDOT was very approachable and willing to communicate with all parties involved,” said Frank Perkins of Canyon Services, a property management company in Alta. “It’s a real treat to have the open communication with UDOT in dealing with problems in Little Cottonwood Canyon.”

Executive Director Carlos Braceras was present to give the Silver Barrels to crew members.

“These men are the face of UDOT for the public. No one knows what I do, or what your region director does. But they know what you do. And you carry a fine balance between keeping the canyon clean and safe while also maintaining the area’s other major roadways.” Braceras said.

081915 02 Carlos Awarding

The Silver Barrel Award started in 2012 by then-Executive Director John Njord. It is meant to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty to give exemplary service to the citizens and infrastructure of Utah. Much like college football players, who receive stickers to put on their helmets for a job well done on the field, UDOT employees who receive this award get Silver Barrel sticker for their hard hats, a pin, and a certificate.

081915 04 pin and sticker

The members receiving the Silver Barrel award are:

  • Jake Brown, Cottonwood Station Supervisor
  • Shawn Wright, Cottonwood Station
  • Keith Trott, Cottonwood Station
  • Michael Johnson, Cottonwood Station
  • Semi Tuiatua, Cottonwood Station
  • Tyler Connor, Cottonwood Station
  • Whitikei Lutui, Cottonwood Station
  • Sean Lewis, Cottonwood Station
  • Kirby Peacock, South Valley Station
  • Jared Thomas, South Valley Station
UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

On Thursday morning, August 13, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert put on his sneakers and joined UDOT’s Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP) to walk to school with a group of Sugarhouse families. The short stroll was part of UDOT SNAP’s kick-off to celebrate the new-and-improved Walking School Bus mobile app.

While accompanying the students to school, Gov. Herbert praised UDOT SNAP for creating the free, forward-thinking app, which empowers parents to allow their children to walk and bike to school.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new "Walking School Bus" app

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new “Walking School Bus” app

“Walking and biking to school makes our neighborhoods safer, our air cleaner and our children healthier. It also helps to build a greater sense of community,” Gov. Herbert said. “I encourage all parents who live within walking distance of school to download the free UDOT Walking School Bus App, join or organize a walking group and start the school year off right by making walking and biking to and from school a habit.”

During the walk, Gov. Herbert also encouraged the young students to continue their studies.

Parents were interested to learn that the updated Walking School Bus app now included easy tutorials, a way to invite their friends via text and social media, and that the app appears to be more navigable. They also remarked on how important the safety features on the app are to them.

Kids like the app, too.

“I feel safe, and I like walking with my friends,” nine-year-old Alex Beasley said. “And it also saves gas because you’re not using your cars.

UDOT developed and launched the free app in August 2014 to help make walking and biking to school safer and easier. With the app, parents can create and join walking groups, send messages within the app to coordinate walks, and even notify other parents when students have arrived at school. In its first year, more than 500 walking school bus groups were created across the state, and parents and students using the app reduced 91,000 car trips and 37 million grams of CO2 emissions, walked 88,000 miles and burned 8.8 million calories.

The free Walking School Bus App is available for download for iPhone and Android devices. For more information, visit


Gov. Herbert backs UDOT’s ‘Walking School Bus’ AppABC News 4 Utah

UDOT aims to reduce pollution, increase child safety and exercise with ‘Walking School Bus’ appFox 13 News

Herbert, students trade wheels for sneakers on ‘walking school bus’ - Deseret News

Reserve family gets walking with Utah governor - Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

UDOT Walking School Bus app aims to improve safety - KSL5 News

Guv encourages Utah parents to ditch the school carpools in favor of walkingThe Salt Lake Tribune

Governor says kids should ditch carpools and walk to schoolThe Daily Herald





Projects planned over next 25 years will enhance Utah’s economy, quality of life

RICHFIELD —  The Utah Department of Transportation today released its long-range plan forecasting transportation needs in rural Utah over the next 25 years.

The department updates its long-range transportation plan every four years with an eye toward keeping traffic moving now and into the future. The plan focuses primarily on rural areas of the state and identifies a list of projects that will strengthen Utah’s economy and enhance the state’s quality of life.


Transportation needs for Utah’s urban areas are developed in cooperation with metropolitan planning organizations like the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Mountainland Association of Governments. These long-range plans, along with UDOT’s Long-Range Plan, are combined to create Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, which will be published this fall.

“UDOT follows a fiscally responsible approach to maximize the value of Utah’s infrastructure investment,” said Jeff Harris, UDOT planning director. “The department leverages limited resources in a way that will provide the greatest benefit.”

Harris said the Long-Range Plan considers the unique needs and strengths of rural Utah, including tourism, the energy sector, interstate freight movement, access to recreation opportunities, and the need for enhanced connections between communities. It employs sophisticated travel demand modeling software to anticipate future transportation needs, taking into account projected population growth as well as employment data forecasts.

The plan also reflects the predicted quantity and timing of future funding, as well as public input accumulated during a series of public meetings focused on the draft project list last spring.

Projects listed in this plan include projects to widen roads, add new passing or climbing lanes, modify interchanges and make other needed improvements throughout the state. You can view the Long-Range Plan here


Road projects revealed by UDOT for next 25 years – Taylor Hintz, Ogden Standard-Examiner

UDOT releases long range plan for rural roads” – ABC4Utah


Editors Note: #messageMonday is part of a relatively new, ongoing Zero Fatalities campaign aimed at improving safety behaviors on Utah roads. It is a partnership between UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety. More information about the campaign can be found here

081015 VMS

They’re two of the main killers on Utah roads: seat belts (or not wearing them) and cell phones.

According to The National Safety Council, it’s estimated that 1.4 million crashes each year involve drivers using phones (e.g. making calls, choosing music, reading e-mails and texting), and a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting. Distracted driving involving some form of phone use accounted for almost 100 fatalities on Utah roads in 2014 ALONE. Whether you’re making a call, looking at a text, or even having Siri send the message for you, there’s too much multitasking for your brain to focus on driving safely, and all too often, it leads to a car crash.

Distracted driving phones

And no matter what caused the crash, your chances of survival increase significantly if you’re wearing a seat belt. Since 2005, unrestrained or improperly restrained victims account for just about half of all car-related deaths on Utah roads. Wearing your seat belt isn’t just a personal choice: it affects everyone around you. In fact, statistics show that unbuckled passengers can increase probability of death for other people in the car by 40 percent. Of course, since May 2015, it’s also the law for everyone to buckle up any time you’re on the road.

So there are the facts.

At UDOT and Zero Fatalities, we’re not trying to scare you into practicing safe driving techniques; it’s about more than that. It’s about each and every life that could have been saved had a different choice been made. It’s about that brother, sister, mother, father, friend, or other loved one who isn’t here, but should be. Car crashes may be inevitable, even with safely designed roads and careful drivers. But each time we get into a vehicle, we can control the choices we make to help keep our roads safer — for our families, our neighbors, and ourselves.

So please wear your seat belt. Wait until your trip is done to make that call or send that text. Your family and friends will be grateful for that choice when you make it to them safely.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The closure of Legacy Parkway will not occur this weekend. It has been rescheduled for later in the month.  Because Legacy Highway work cannot be done on the Aug 7th weekend, there WILL be closures on I-15 southbound in the North Salt Lake Center Street area. Only three lanes will be available on Saturday, Aug 8. -NRN

Legacy Parkway weekend closure, I-15 lane restrictions scheduled to start Friday evening 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for construction this weekend. Legacy Parkway is scheduled to close from Friday night to Monday morning for bridge maintenance. In addition, I-15 will be reduced to two lanes in both directions on Friday and Saturday night while workers reapply lane markings.

Legacy Parkway

Legacy Parkway is scheduled to close in both directions from I-15 to I-215 beginning tomorrow night as early as 7 p.m.The southbound lanes will close first, followed by the northbound lanes at 10 p.m. On Monday, Aug. 10, the southbound lanes are scheduled to reopen in time for the morning commute by 5 a.m., followed by the northbound lanes at 8 a.m.

During this closure, crews will be completing bridge maintenance at several locations along Legacy Parkway. Drivers traveling through Davis County should use I-15 as an alternate route. The closure of Legacy Parkway will not occur this weekend. It has been rescheduled for later in the month.  -NRN  

062915 Legacy Traffic

I-15 in Salt Lake County

Because Legacy Highway work cannot be done on the Aug 7th weekend, there WILL be closures on I-15 southbound in the North Salt Lake Center Street area. Only three lanes will be available starting 10 p.m. Friday, Aug 7. to Saturday, Aug 8. -NRN

Drivers should plan ahead for delays on I-15 in Salt Lake County on Friday and Saturday night. I-15 is scheduled to be reduced to two lanes in both directions from 4500 South to 10600 South from Friday, Aug. 7, at 11 p.m. to Saturday, Aug. 8, at 7 a.m., and again from Saturday, Aug. 8, at 11 p.m. to Sunday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. These lane closures will allow workers to reapply lane markings on the freeway.

During this time, freeway off- and on-ramps are scheduled to close intermittently as construction equipment passes. Crews will not be permitted to close consecutive exits, so drivers should proceed to the next exit if their desired ramp is closed.


I-215 from Taylorsville to Murray

Construction continues to repave the eastbound lanes of I-215 between Redwood Road in Taylorsville and 300 East in Murray. Eastbound I-215 is reduced to one lane each night beginning as early as 9 p.m., and is reduced to two lanes during daytime hours on Saturdays and Sundays. UDOT advises allowing extra travel time or using alternate routes during these times.

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For more information about these and other UDOT projects, visit or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices.