UDOT Region 2 will complete five maintenance projects on state Route 68 (Redwood Road) between S.R. 201 and the Davis County line during the 2013-2015 construction seasons. When complete, these projects will integrate different transportation options to create an improved corridor for all road users including motor vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A dedicated bike lane will span from S.R. 201 to North Temple and shared shoulders will allow more room for cyclists between North Temple and the Davis County line. The projects all reconstructed pedestrian ramps to meet current standards and radar detection has or will be added at several intersections. These improved project features increase safety, and allow for better traffic flow and access to transit and trails in northern Salt Lake County.

Photo of traffic on Redwood Road with a bike lane

Redwood Road near 500 North

UDOT is partnering with municipalities across the state to improve facilities and make more integrated transportation choices available to the traveling public. UDOT has worked closely with Salt Lake City’s Transportation Division throughout all phases of the S.R. 68 projects to include these improvements. According to Becka Roolf, Salt Lake City’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator, “having people be able to walk and bike, take public transportation, and/or drive are all part of the transportation choices for a city. UDOT has been a great partner on improving those choices.” UDOT is proud to implement strategies that improve safety and increase mobility to develop a world-class roadway network for all transportation users.

On the S.R. 68; I-80 to California Avenue project, Salt Lake City’s request was received later in the design process, requiring some re-design in order to accomplish the bike lane changes necessary. The team determined that integrated transportation was a high priority for the S.R. 68 corridor and were able to incorporate Salt Lake City design requests and still advertise the project on-time. Two other projects on S.R. 68 between S.R. 201 and California Avenue and between 250 South and 1000 North benefited from this decision and were able to coordinate with the City early to include these added features without any impacts to their design schedules.

During construction, the S.R. 68; I-80 to California Avenue project installed the new radar traffic detection system at the onset of construction so that it could be used to maintain traffic flow on S.R. 68 during construction. It had the added benefit of providing bicycle detection in an area that is heavily used by commuter and recreational cyclists alike. Project Manager Lisa Zundel explains that bike lanes “are a benefit for all road users because they separate slower moving cyclists from the motor vehicle traffic,” improving traffic flow across the facility. “UDOT’s improved radar system can detect bicycles in the roadway or bike lanes and give them the opportunity to have a green light,” she added.

Image showing the radard detection zone for cyclistsUDOT is reaching out to the cycling community to explain how radar detection works and to help cyclists position themselves appropriately in an intersection where radar is present. “In order to be detected by radar, cyclists need to be in a through or left-turn lane, behind the stop bar or near a painted bicycle symbol if one is present,” explained Robert Clayton, Director of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center. This positioning removes potential conflict between cyclists and right-turning vehicles at the intersection and triggers the radar if no motor vehicles are present. This will increase safety for cyclists at intersections and improve traffic flow throughout the system.

This guest post was written by the Redwood Road Project Team.

A two-mile stretch of I-15 near milepost 91 in Nevada was washed away due to heavy rainfall that started on Monday, September 8th. In an unprecedented storm around 4 inches of rain fell in the space of 2 hours, flooding the road and washing away ground and asphalt leaving the interstate impassable. Record breaking numbers of rainfall were reported along streams in the area.

The Nevada DOT declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, September 9 due to the importance of passenger vehicle and commercial trucking flow on I-15. According to Arizona Department of Transportation, approximately 23,000 vehicles use I-15 each day between St. George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Warnings on Utah’s freeway message boards were posted up and down I-15 letting drivers know that the freeway would be closed down and provided details for  alternate routes. These signs went as far east as Nebraska to provide enough time for travelers to change their routes.

Screen shot of tweet that says 'From nevadadot semi restriction lifted (except oversie w/o permit) on NV I-15Information was also available to drivers via the 511 phone line, the Utah Trucking Association, news outlets, Arizona and Nevada DOT’s, the UDOT Traffic website, the UDOT Traffic Twitter account and the UDOT Traffic app. UDOT’s social media channels proved very valuable during this event.

Travelers were directed to take S.R. 56 out of Cedar City to Nevada S.R. 319 and then to the U.S. 93 back to the freeway. UDOT and NDOT worked very hard to provide accurate and timely information to motorists traveling on this alternative.

State DOT’s had to work together. Although the closure was not in Utah UDOT was heavily involved in sending support to the affected areas. Due to increased traffic on S.R. 56 a UDOT Incident Management Team (IMT) was dispatched to assist. The IMT crews directed traffic, filled potholes and moved disabled semis out of traffic.

They also deployed a portable traffic camera trailer to the S.R. 18/S.R. 56 junction to monitor any potential problems and back-ups. UDOT’s Region 4 shared access to this camera with Nevada DOT. Region 4 was also able to respond quickly to a rockslide on the Arizona section of I-15 and sent snow plows to clear rock debris in the Virgin River Gorge area.

Southbound I-15 reopened to traffic on Friday, September 12th to one lane in each direction for passenger vehicles. Northbound lanes reopened on September 18.

Glenn Blackwelder a Traffic Operations Engineer at UDOT said “We could not have done it on our own. It took the communication and resources of the Traffic Operations Center, Region 4 and NDOT working together. We were pleased with how all agencies and divisions were able to work together to get I-15 back open as quickly as possible.”Screen shot of tweet and attached map showing detour route. The tweet reads "Reminder: Nevada I-15 closed due to flooding. So Cal and Vegas detour map:"

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

Photo of base and 3 panels of water tank under constructionThe Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Granger-Hunter Improvement District (GHD) worked together to relocate to Cedar City a 2 million gallon water tank that was moved to make way for the Mountain View Corridor (MVC). By recycling existing resources, UDOT, GHD and Cedar City saved taxpayers $500,000.

UDOT is currently preparing for the next phase of construction on the Mountain View Corridor from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City. The project needed to relocate an older, steel water tank near 4300 South. The water tank held 2 million gallons of water that proved to be too small for the growing area. UDOT and GHD worked together to build a new, 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future roadway.

Photo of water tank under construction with first rise and base in place.Instead of disposing of the old water tank material, UDOT and GHD researched ways to re-use it. Cedar City was in need of a new water tank and contacted UDOT. The water tank was dismantled and transported to its new location for reassembly.

“We are always looking for ways to create positive outcomes during the construction process,” said Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director. “This is a great example of government and utility companies working together to save taxpayer money.”

Mountain View Corridor consists of two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South. MVC will eventually be a 35-mile freeway from I-80 in Salt to Lehi Main Street.

If you would like to learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview. To learn more about Granger-Hunter Improvement District, visit www.ghid.org. To learn more about Cedar City, visit www.cedarcity.org.

Photo of water tank with second rise in place

This guest post was written by the Mountain View Corridor Project Team.

Photo of mud and rock over the road and a coal hauling truck trapped in the debris.On July 29, 2014, a rainstorm hit S.R. 28 between Nephi and Gunnison. Several locations between milepost 16 and 29 were flooded, leaving up to six feet of debris on the road in places and trapping a coal hauling truck. This section of S.R. 28 is maintained by the Nephi shed in Region Three and they were dispatched to clear the road, but their available resources were limited.

The Gunnison and Salina sheds were called on to assist with the efforts. They supplied equipment and labor to assist in opening the road. These five individuals received a silver barrel for their efforts assisting Region Three.

Gunnison Station #4462

  • Kevin Conover
  • Marcus Lambert
  • Brian Sorensen
  • Zeb Wignal

Salina Station #4463

  • Brian Quarnberg

Photo of several loaders working to remove debris from S.R. 28This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel Award nomination submitted by Daryl Friant, Region Four East District Engineer.

 

October 15th, 2014

DEER NEAR KANAB NEED TO MIGRATE

No Comments, Zero Fatalities, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT is working to improve deer use of the crossings and prevent motorist-wildlife crashes.

Photo of deer using the crossingThe fall migration of the Paunsaugunt mule deer herd reaches its height between October and November as deer move south, and eventually end up east of Kanab or in Arizona near the Kiabab Plateau. This is the second year that migrating deer will encounter new fencing and wildlife crossings on U.S. 89 east of Kanab. Since Utah’s deer hunt coincides with the migration, it’s more likely that people and deer will come into close proximity near a wildlife crossing or along U.S. 89. And when people are near, deer appear to be less likely to learn to use wildlife crossings.

The new fencing is designed to direct deer to the under-highway crossings, but it can take three years or more before most of the animals in the herd learn the crossing options. UDOT is identifying and implementing measures to improve crossings by working with Patricia Cramer, PhD, Utah State University Research Assistant Professor, Arizona Game and Fish, the BLM and the Grand Staircase agencies and employees from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“We’re very interested to see how it works out this year,” says Randall Taylor from the UDOT Region Four Richfield office. He has been part of an effort to install fencing and three crossings along a 12.5 mile area with the highest wildlife-automobile crash history. “This project does not cover the whole area but it’s an important first step at the core of the accidents.”

Photo of deer using the crossingSoon after project completion in September 2013, Cramer placed motion-activated cameras at each crossing. The photos provide information about how many deer are using the crossings, and identify reasons deer may be deterred.

Photos from last year show more people near the crossings during the deer hunt, and fewer deer making the trek across. Probably because the crossings were new, deer congregated near the fencing along the highway. Road users saw the deer and stopped to take a look. UDOT responded by placing variable message signs to discourage motorists from pulling over.

Other circumstances served to deter deer from following the fencing and using the crossings. Gaps under the fencing encouraged deer to push through on to the pavement. “Flooding was to blame for some of those gaps, and coyotes were the cause of others,” says Taylor. UDOT and UDWR are monitoring the fencing and filling gaps as soon as possible.

Besides doing work on the project corridor, UDWR is communicating directly with hunters; a message about staying away from crossings will go out with each license holder.

The crossings are important to highway safety in the area. Pre-project crash data indicates that building the crossings prevents an estimated 132 crashes per year. “Hopefully, more deer will get across this year. The research Patti Cramer is doing is helping.”

For more:

Read a post about how UDOT collaborates to improve crossings written by Patricia Cramer, PhD, Utah State University

Photo of bicyclists on Provo Main Street

Cyclists and motorists share Provo Main Street

More than 20 people attended the kick-off meeting for the Region Three Bike Advisory Group, a group of staff who have interest in better understanding the Region Three Bike Plan.

Craig Hancock, Region Three Engineering Manager, is leading the effort to become familiar with the bike plan and identify local government priorities.

“As part of UDOT’s emphasis on integrated transportation, we want to take a close look at the existing plan and validate that our staff and local governments support it,” Craig said. “We will work with local governments and Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) to gain their buy-in so that together we have a commitment to implement the bike plan.”

Region Three staff expressed interest in the bike plan for a variety of reasons: some are bicyclists who ride for recreation or commuting. Others were interested because the bike plan affects their job and how projects are built. There was also a mix of on-road riders and trail riders. Some key considerations in implementing bicycle improvements that were discussed include:

  • Parking and bike lanes
  • Bicycle signal detection and routing of bicyclists through intersections
  • Pavement type; chip seal surfaces are difficult for bicyclists
  • Sweeping and snow removal or snow storage
  • Rumble strips

A core group from the 20 interested staff will meet monthly to work through the existing bike plan and coordinate with local governments and MAG. The larger group will be assembled for input and feedback at key points during the validation process. “In the end,” Craig said, “the goal is to have a region bike plan that we commit to make happen.”

The Employee Advisory Council met August 6, 2014. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Performance Awards
  • Recognizing Retiring Employees
  • Employee Communication
  • Losing FTEs – Doing More with Less

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC August 2014 Summary

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

Employee Advisory Council

Photo of two loaders and a barge moving the "wedge" to a new position. The "wedge" is the ramp vechicles use to load on the ferry.

Photo provided by Christopher Thompson with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

On July 15, 2014 ARAMARK, UDOT, and National Park Service employees met to assemble the “wedge” for the Charles Hall Ferry on the Bullfrog side of state Route 276 which crosses Lake Powell.

After a safety briefing, clarification of the operational mission for the day, and finalizing all the last minute details, the group proceeded with their assigned tasks. The work was well coordinated and very efficient amongst all those involved.

Special thanks goes to the UDOT crew for showing up with all the proper tools, equipment and personnel, ready to get the job accomplished safely. Without their support, none of this could have been accomplished. They also utilized two loaders to relocate the necessary gravel and to groom the access road.

UDOT employees included:

Hanksville Station #4467

  • Stan Roberts
  • Fred Weihing
  • Brandon Whipple

Loa Station #4466

  • Wesley Erickson
  • Shawn Davis

ARAMARK employees did an excellent job manning the barge and positioning the “wedge” as the wind increased in strength. After the main construction of the road the NPS came in with a grader, and multiple loads of water to achieve a usable surface and compaction.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Christopher Thompson, Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Because winter maintenance is so costly, UDOT personnel asked researchers at Brigham Young University (BYU) to determine whether asphalt or concrete pavements require more winter maintenance. Differing thermal properties suggest that, for the same environmental conditions, asphalt and concrete pavements will have different temperature profiles. Climatological data from 22 environmental sensor stations (ESSs) near asphalt roads and nine ESSs near concrete roads were used to determine which pavement type has higher surface temperatures in winter.

Twelve continuous months of climatological data were acquired from the road weather information system operated by UDOT, and erroneous data were removed from the data set. In order to focus on the cold-weather pavement surface temperatures, a winter season was defined as the period from November through April, and the data were divided into time periods that were based on sunrise and sunset times to match the solar cycle.

To predict pavement surface temperature, a multiple linear regression was performed with input parameters of pavement type, time period, and air temperature. As shown in Table 1, the statistical analysis predicting pavement surface temperatures showed that, for near-freezing conditions, asphalt is better in the afternoon, and concrete is better for other times of the day. However, neither pavement type is better, on average, across the locations studied in this research. That is, asphalt and concrete are equally likely to collect snow or ice on their surfaces, and both pavements are expected to require equal amounts of winter maintenance, on average.

To supplement these analyses, which provided useful information about average pavement temperatures across the statewide pavement network, additional analyses of asphalt and concrete pavement surface temperatures were performed for a particular location in a mountainous region of northern Utah more typical of canyon areas. Asphalt and concrete pavement surface temperatures were directly compared at a location on U.S. Route 40 near Heber where asphalt and concrete meet end to end at the base of a mountain pass. As shown in Figure 1, an ESS was installed to facilitate monitoring of asphalt and concrete pavement surface temperatures, as well as selected climatic variables, at the site.

Data collected during the three winter seasons from 2009 to 2012 were analyzed in this research, and the same months and time periods used in the previous study were applied in this analysis as well. To compare the surface temperatures of the concrete and asphalt pavements during freezing conditions, multivariate regression analyses were performed. Equations were generated for three response variables, including the asphalt surface temperature, concrete surface temperature, and difference in temperatures between the asphalt and concrete surfaces.

The statistical models developed in the analyses show that the surface temperature of both asphalt and concrete pavement increases with increasing air temperature and decreases with increasing relative humidity and wind speed, and that the difference in pavement temperatures decreases with decreasing air temperature. For the studied site, the data indicate that concrete pavement will experience freezing before asphalt pavement for all time periods except late afternoon, when the pavement types are predicted to freeze at the same air temperature (see Table 2). Therefore, for material properties and environmental conditions similar to those evaluated at this U.S. 40 site, asphalt would require less winter maintenance, on average, than concrete.

Due to the interactions among albedo, specific heat, and thermal conductivity, the actual thermal behavior of a given pavement will depend on the material properties and environmental conditions specific to the site. As shown in this research, concrete pavement can be warmer than asphalt, which is typical of the statewide pavement network, on average, during late morning, evening, night, and early morning. However, the research also clearly shows that, in mountainous regions of northern Utah more typical of canyon areas, engineers may expect asphalt pavement to be warmer than concrete, or equal in temperature to it, during all time periods at sites that receive direct sun exposure, such as the one on U.S. Route 40 that was studied in this research. At such sites, selection of asphalt pavement may facilitate reduced winter maintenance costs; however, though statistically significant, relatively small differences in temperature between asphalt and concrete pavement surfaces may not warrant differences in actual winter maintenance practices. Other factors beyond pavement type, such as rutting and surface texture, may more strongly affect winter maintenance and should also be considered.

The results of the statewide comparison of wintertime temperatures of asphalt and concrete pavements, as well as the specific results for the U.S. 40 site near Heber, are detailed in two separate research reports available on the Research Division website.

This guest post was written by W. Spencer Guthrie, Ph.D., M.ASCE, Brigham Young University, and David Stevens, P.E., Research Program Manager, and was originally published in the Research Newsletter.

September 24th, 2014

Getting Active

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Guest Post.
Photo of people listening to a speaker.

Road Respect Tour representative addresses a crowd in Cedar City. Communities take the lead, with UDOT support, to develop active transportation plans and activities.

A flexible, non-traditional approach to planning provides a learning environment for UDOT and stakeholders and empowers community members to see active transportation opportunities.

Many know about the Road Respect cycling tour – it’s an outreach and education effort, started in 2011, that promotes bicycling and emphasizes safe, respectful cycling and driving. Road Respect has moved beyond annual tours and built on the good will generated by cyclist-ambassadors.

Today, Road Respect Community – an off-shoot of the annual Road Respect Tour – connects UDOT with communities and policy makers to plan and improve active transportation options.

Under the Road Respect Community Program, cities and towns throughout Utah are leveraging and building on what they already have in place to create comprehensive approaches to bicycle planning. The program begins with a forum that examines issues and solutions having to do with local bicycling. The forums bring together representatives from UDOT, local cities and counties, planning and law enforcement agencies, cycling advocates, and community members who have an interest in active transportation.

Photo of groups discussing cycling issues

Road Respect Communities connects UDOT with cyclists and policy makers to plan and improve active transportation options.

The initial forum centers on addressing the concerns of the community. Then community members are invited to take the ideas generated during the forum and work with local government leaders and UDOT to improve area active transportation in an ongoing process. “We have enjoyed a lot of success in our Road Respect Community program,” explains Evelyn Tuddenham, UDOT’s Bike-Pedestrian Coordinator. “The forums have put several communities on the fast-track to improving active transportation options.”

Example: Moab Main Street

An intense business, trucking and travel corridor, Moab Main Street is also a route cyclists use to get to the many trails that let tourists experience the beautiful, matchless red rock landscape. Business owners along the corridor are glad to accommodate the influx of tourists. But the community members, cycling groups and leaders were concerned with how to get cyclists around town and on and off trails safely.

Photo of facilitator hanging papers up with ideas written on them

A forum facilitator posts issues on a display board for all attendees to see.

The issues forum in Moab helped educate the stakeholder groups about available options along the multi-use corridor. “When we left Moab, there was a much better understanding by the locals about the mobility issues UDOT was faced with on a street that needed to accommodate a wide variety of users, from pedestrians and bicycles, to large trucks,” says Tuddenham. Together, the forum attendees came up with ideas for mapping and signs. UDOT is now looking at solutions for pedestrian crossings. These efforts will help improve mobility and safety for cyclists, pedestrians and motorists. Community members will continue to work with UDOT to find additional solutions.

Making connections

“With Road Respect Community forums, we are able to get people together in an informal, nonthreatening settng,” says Tuddenham. Such a setting can foster trust, enhance dialogue among disparate groups. Once citizens are able to voice their concerns and be trained about options, ideas for solutions inevitably follow. Road Respect Community forums have:

  1. Helped community groups, including local cities or county planning or law enforcement agencies, and cycling advocacy groups, understand how UDOT functions.
  2. Connected UDOT with communities to strengthen the relationship between UDOT regional offices and the public.
  3. Empowered communities to take the lead, with UDOT support, to develop active transportation plans and activities.

UDOT U is funding a report about the program so other UDOT programs can use the collaboration and training approach as a model.

Road Respect Community is a grass-roots effort that fosters education and action. The program has moved UDOT forward in the effort to unite with community groups and other government agencies to collaborate and develop active transportation plans across the state.

This guest post was originally published in the UDOT U Summer 2014 newsletter.