UDOT Bridge Engineer Josh Sletten Helps Build Bridge to Prosperity

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Here at UDOT we’re proud of the innovative work our employees do to help, not just Utah get around, but the entire world. Recently one of our bridge engineers took part in a humanitarian trip to help a population in Central America better their transportation needs.

Josh Sletten has worked for UDOT as a structural engineer for seven years, but says it was exciting to get back to the basics of bridge building.

Josh spent 12 days this past April in the Central American jungle as part of Bridges to Prosperity. The non-profit humanitarian group has built 185 bridges in 17 different countries. The goal is to give communities the lifeline they desperately need.

“There’s this little community out there,” said Josh of the site. “The Lura River runs right through the community, separates a lot of people from the school.”

About 500 people live in the small community, and rely on the bridge to get to the main part of town. Josh was part of a 12-person team tasked with dismantling the rickety wood bridge and building a 51m (167.3ft.) long suspension bridge.

The group was made up of volunteers from several different engineering groups. Josh was the only one representing UDOT. He was invited by The National Steel Bridge Alliance to participate in the bridge building expedition.

“We had no two people from the same company,” said Josh. “We had one person from all of these different entities and we all came together and it was a fantastic way of doing it. You had to build relationships and a team on the fly.”

Josh worked as the logistics manager for the group, meaning he had to figure out transportation, lodging, food and finances. But everyone was involved in constructing the bridge.

He said it was an amazing experience getting back to the roots of engineering. He’s spent years in an office, planning on a computer. This project forced the team to be innovative, even making their own tools.=

“I love to be out on the construction site,” said Josh. “Get your hands dirty and kind of unplug and disconnect a little bit.”

Josh uses a level to check the alignment of the suspension bridge.

Josh uses a level to check the alignment of the suspension bridge.

Josh said suspension bridges have always been one of his favorites. There’s a lot of precision that goes into getting the arcs just right to support the weight of the bridge.

About 250 people showed up at the project’s completion to see the finished bridge and expressed their gratitude for the project.

“It was very well received,” said Josh. ”It’s rewarding. We didn’t speak Spanish, most of us, and they didn’t speak English, but just expressed their appreciation in whatever way they could.”

Josh said the experience is one that had a strong impact on him and others. They’ve all decided it’s something they’d like to do again.

 

Josh and Panama Ninos

Josh with some of the local school children who rely on the Lura bridge to get to school.

The new suspension bridge spans 52 meters (about 167 ft.) across the Lura River in Panama.

 

Media Event: New technique demolishes bridge deck with water

Media invited to witness hydro demolition, a force of 36,000 PSI of water pressure to remove bridge deck on I-215

WHAT:

Local media are invited to take a tour of the I-215 construction zone and view hydro demolition work up-close. Hydro demolition uses high pressure water jets to demolish concrete bridge decks without damaging the reinforcing steel or structure underneath.

The I-215 reconstruction project is one of the first in Utah to use this new technique, which is quicker and more precise than traditional bridge deck demolition methods. Other projects utilizing this method include the U.S. 40 bridge maintenance project currently underway in Summit County, and an upcoming bridge maintenance project starting next month on the I-215 east belt.

WHEN:

Friday, July 29, 2016, at 9 a.m.

  • Shuttle vehicles will leave promptly at 9:15 a.m. Media members will be escorted to the work zone for on-site interviews and video/photos, then will be returned to the Traffic Operations Center.

WHERE:

UDOT Traffic Operations Center, 2060 South 2760 West

Meet in parking lot located across the street on the east side of the building

  • To enter the construction zone, participants must wear long pants and closed-toed shoes. In addition, personal protective equipment will be provided and must be worn.

WHO:

Oanh Le-Spradlin, project manager for the I-215 reconstruction project

VISUALS:

  • Up-close view of hydro demolition machinery, including high-pressure water jets, debris removal vacuums, and other construction equipment
  • View of the construction zone and live traffic passing on I-215

Media Contact:
John Gleason
Public Information Office
jgleason@utah.gov
Cell: 801-560-7740

#WorkForUsWednesday – July 20, 2016

For this week’s #WorkForUsWednesday, we have several different positions that cover a number of different UDOT departments. They’re primarily located in region one and the UDOT complex.

UDOT’s mission is to innovate transportation solutions that strengthen Utah’s economy and enhance quality of life. Come join a workforce of over 1,600 employees who all work hard to keep Utah moving.

  • Recruitment #09184 – Port of Entry Agent (Motor Carrier Spec), Echo Port of Entry, Opens 7/13/16, Closes 7/28/16
  • Recruitment #09290 – Property Manager (Right of Way Agent II), Complex – Right of Way, Opens 7/15/16, Closes 7/26/16
  • Recruitment #09309 – Training Coordinator (Trainer III), TL with benefits, Complex – Training, Opens 7/15/16, Closes7/26/16
  • Recruitment #09283 – HPMS Data and Research Analyst (Research Analyst), TL with benefits, Complex – Asset Management, Opens 7/15/16, Closes 7/26/16
  • Recruitment #09337 – Land Surveyor, Region 1 – Ogden, Opens 07/19/2016, Closes 08/01/2016
  • Recruitment #09359 – Transportation Technician II, Region 1 – Bothwell, Opens 07/19/2016, Closes 07/26/2016
  • Recruitment #09352 – GIS Analyst, Complex – Program Development, Opens 07/19/2016, Closes 08/01/2016

Visit the Utah State Jobs website for more information on the specific job roles and to actually apply for these position. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

We hope to see you proudly wearing UDOT orange soon.

S.R. 201 Overnight Closure Scheduled This Weekend

For Immediate Release

S.R. 201 Overnight Closure Scheduled This Weekend

Lane restrictions also scheduled on I-15 at the Point of the Mountain, Bangerter Highway, and I-15 in Utah County 

SALT LAKE CITY (July 13, 2016) – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is scheduled to close S.R. 201 near the I-215 interchange Friday night, July 15, beginning at 9 p.m. Drivers should plan ahead and use I-80 as an alternate route.

 

Eastbound S.R. 201 will close beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, and then westbound S.R. 201 will close by midnight. S.R. 201 will open in both directions by Saturday, July 16, at 6 a.m. During this closure, crews will place new beams for temporary bridges on I-215.

 

This work is being completed as part of the I-215 reconstruction project, which will repave the freeway between S.R. 201 and 4700 South with new concrete, rebuild the bridges at the I-215/S.R. 201 interchange, and add new exit-only lanes in both directions.

 

Also this weekend, northbound I-15 is scheduled to be reduced to one lane from 2100 North in Lehi to 14600 South in Bluffdale for three nights – Friday, July 15; Saturday, July 16; and Sunday, July 17. Lane closures will start as early as 8 p.m. each night, with northbound I-15 reduced to one lane by midnight. All lanes will reopen by 10 a.m. on Saturday andSunday and by 5:30 a.m. on Monday. Crews will be paving and continuing bridge work as part of the I-15 widening project near the Point of the Mountain.

 

Other projects that drivers should plan for this week include:

 

I-15 in Provo – Lane restrictions are scheduled the nights of Wednesday, July 13, and Thursday, July 14, on I-15 near University Avenue (Exit 263) in Provo. On Wednesday night, southbound I-15 will be reduced to two lanes at 8 p.m., with all lanes scheduled to open Thursday at 6 a.m. Also that night, northbound I-15 is scheduled to be reduced to three lanes from 7 p.m. to midnight.

 

Then, on Thursday night, July 14, southbound I-15 is scheduled to be reduced to three lanes as early as 9 p.m., with all lanes reopening by Friday, July 15, at 6 a.m. These lane closures will allow crews to install new overhead signs for the Provo Westside Connector on I-15.  

 

Bangerter Highway at I-15 – The on-ramp from eastbound Bangerter Highway to southbound I-15 is scheduled to close from Friday, July 15, at 11 p.m., to Monday, July 18, at 6 a.m. Crews will be repairing the concrete pavement on the ramp. Eastbound drivers should get on northbound I-15, then use the 12300 South interchange to turn around onto southbound I-15.

 

I-15 in Lehi – Lane restrictions are scheduled on I-15 in Lehi near the Main Street (Exit 279) each night from Saturday, July 16, to Monday, July 18, while crews complete pavement repairs:

 

  • Northbound I-15 will be reduced to two lanes from Saturday, July 16, at 10 p.m. to Sunday, July 17, at 9 a.m. In addition, the northbound on-ramp from Main Street to I-15 will be closed during this time.
  • Southbound I-15 will be reduced to two lanes from Sunday, July 17, at 10 p.m., to Monday, July 18, at 6 a.m., and again from Monday, July 18, at 10 p.m., to Tuesday, July 19, at 6 a.m.

 

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For the latest information on traffic restrictions during construction, visit the UDOT Traffic website (udottraffic.utah.gov) or download the UDOT Traffic app for iPhone or Android. Drivers can also follow UDOT on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

-UDOT-

Media Contact:
John Gleason
UDOT Public Information Officer
jgleason@utah.gov
Cell: 801-560-7740

#WorkForUsWednesday – July 13, 2016

Another #WorkForUsWednesday here at UDOT, with six more job openings. UDOT’s mission is to innovate transportation solutions that strengthen Utah’s economy and enhance quality of life. Come join a workforce of over 1,600 employees who all work hard to keep Utah moving.

  • Recruitment #9162 – Transportation Technician II – Hooper, R-1 Hooper, Opens 07/06/2016, Closes 07/19/2016
  • Recruitment #08943 – Transportation Technician II, Region 4 – Purgatory, Opens 070/7/16, Closes 7/21/16
  • Recruitment #09200 – Transportation Planner (Transportation Project Manager), Complex – Planning, Opens 7/8/16, Closes 7/18/16
  •  Recruitment #09207 – Port of Entry Agent (Motor Carrier Spec II), Wendover Port of Entry, Opens 7/8/16, Closes 7/18/16
  • Recruitment #09201 – Financial Manager II, Complex – Comptroller’s Office, Opens 7/8/16, Closes 7/18/16
  • Recruitment #09211 – Materials Lab Technician III (Engineering Technician III), Region 2 / SLC, Opens 07/11/2016, Closes 07/25/2016

Visit the Utah State Jobs website for more information on the specific job roles and to actually apply for these position. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

We hope to see you proudly wearing UDOT orange soon.

#WorkForUsWednesday: July 6, 2016

Are you passionate about keeping Utah moving like we are? For #WorkForUsWednesday, check out these new positions open with UDOT.

  • Recruitment #09126 – General Maintenance Worker, R-3 Orem, Opens 07/01/2016, Continuous
  • Recruitment #9162 – Transportation Technician II – Hooper, R-1 Hooper, Opens 07/06/2016, Closes 07/19/2016

There are also positions open for seasonal general maintenance in Salt Lake,  Summit and Tooele counties. General Maintenance workers are the front lines of UDOT employees and the ones who really see what it takes to keep Utah moving.

Visit the Utah State Jobs website to actually apply for these position. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

We hope to see you proudly wearing UDOT orange soon.

I-215, I-15 Freeway Closures Scheduled Sunday and Monday

Drivers on I-215 and i-15 through Salt Lake City be warned, several closures over the weekend may impact travel. The closures will primarily be at night, but drivers should still be aware and plan for alternate routes if they’ll be going through those areas.

I-215 is scheduled to be closed in both directions near 600 South on Sunday, June 26, at 7 a.m.

The freeway will be closed for approximately 20 minutes while Rocky Mountain Power crews hang new power lines across the road. Drivers heading to the Salt Lake City International Airport should allow extra time or consider using I-15 to I-80 as an alternate route.

I-15 in Springville will be closed on Monday night, June 27. Crews are scheduled to close all northbound lanes on I-15 at the 1400 North interchange (Exit 261) around midnight to install the crossbar for a new overhead message sign. All northbound lanes are expected to reopen by Tuesday, June 28, at 2 a.m. During this closure, all traffic will be detoured onto S.R. 75. Detour signs will direct drivers back to northbound I-15 via U.S. 89 and 1860 South in Provo.

In addition, UDOT advises drivers to plan ahead for the following projects:

I-80, Salt Lake City: Eastbound I-80 will be reduced to one lane, and westbound I-80 will be reduced to three lanes, between 1300 East and State Street for pavement repairs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights during the following times:

Friday, June 24, at 8 p.m. to Saturday, June 25, at 9 a.m.
Saturday, June 25, at 8 p.m. to Sunday, June 26, at 10 a.m.
Sunday, June 26, at 7 p.m. to Monday, June 27, at 5 a.m.

I-215 West Belt, Salt Lake City: The ramp from southbound I-215 to eastbound S.R. 201 is scheduled to close for up to 30 days beginning on Monday, June 27, as early as 1 a.m. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead and use alternate routes, such as I-80.

During the closure, crews will reconstruct the ramp, completely removing the existing pavement and replacing it with new concrete. This work is being completed as part of the I-215 reconstruction project, which will repave the freeway between S.R. 201 and 4700 South with new concrete and add new exit-only lanes in both directions.

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For additional information on traffic restrictions during construction, visit the UDOT Traffic website (udottraffic.utah.gov) or download the UDOT Traffic app for iPhone or Android. Drivers can also follow UDOT on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

How GIS Improves Data Quality

Quality Data

Screenshot of UPlan

Screenshot of UPlan Map Center

State routes and associated features, like mile markers, structures, and even fiber optic cable, can be represented by geo-located points or lines. The UPlan Map Center  provides a way to put data sets on a map, which makes the location of projects and features easy to find. A map can highlight errors and aid quality control. GIS also helps facilitate feedback from decision makers and the public by connecting data owners with data users to.

While putting data on a map sounds simple, “going from a non-visual data environment to a visual one is a complete transformative game-changer,” explains Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Inventory Control (OAC) Manager. For decades, the Department’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program struggled to consistently and quickly identify which routes in the state required billboard control and to pinpoint the exact location of permitted billboards on those routes. Records for the program were kept in individual online or hard copy files which had written descriptions of billboard locations.

UDOT recently combined all route and billboard data into the Outdoor Advertising Control Map. GIS has vastly improved the OAC program’s data quality. “GIS allows users to gain a visual understanding the geographic distribution of permitted billboards in the state. It quickly tells a story that cannot be told through endless spreadsheet rows.  It has exponentially improved QC/QA activities, and it has revolutionized service delivery to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”

A bridge too far

Putting GIS data on a map also highlights location errors. “It’s like shining a light on something that can otherwise get buried,” says Sarah Rigard, UDOT GIS Program Manager. When the UDOT Structures Division data was put on a map, some of the bridges showed up in the wrong location – one was in Nevada. “A slight typo in a lat-long coordinate will cause the point to be in the wrong location.” Checking for errors on a map can be easier and more effective than checking a spread sheet line by line.

Making decisions

The purpose of the annual Utah Transportation Commission Workshop is to develop funding strategies and identify upcoming projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). UDOT’s GIS team supports the workshop by developing presentation materials such as PDF maps, tables, and storymaps on UPlan. Developing presentations has spurred discussion of what information from the Electronic Program Management (ePM) database is the most useful and helpful to convey, and how that information should be presented to provide a thorough representation of transportation needs.

GIS tools provide another way review data, which improves the quality. As a result, UDOT has better information for making decisions and better tools for presenting information to stakeholders.

Employee Advisory Council April 2015 Meeting

The Employee Advisory Council met April 19, 2016. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Employee-to-Employee Recognition
  • Policy Regarding Compensation for Performing Supervisor Duties
  • Interview Process
  • Wage Negotiations with New Jobs
  • Student Fees and Tuition Reimbursement
  • Market Comparability Adjustment
  • Construction Tech IV Job Posting
  • Holidays
  • 2016 Governor’s Choose Health Challenge

EAC April 2016 Summary

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

Employee Advisory Council

#WorkForUs Wednesday

Can you see yourself in orange? Check out three new job openings for today’s #WorkForUsWednesday.

  • Recruitment #08496 – Communications Manager (Program Manager), Complex – Communications, Opens 4/27/16, Closes 5/5/16
  • Recruitment #08486 – GIS Intern (Intern), Complex – Central Preconstruction, Opens 4/27/16, Closes 5/15/16
  • Recruitment #08338- Landscape Architect (Architect), R-3 Orem, Opens 04/18/2016, Closes 05/08/2016

Visit the Utah State Jobs website to actually apply for these position. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

We hope to see you proudly wearing UDOT orange soon.