Aerial photo of State Street looking north toward Salt Lake CityEarlier this summer, Region Two completed one of this year’s Top 10 Construction Projects – right in the middle of Salt Lake City. Construction crews from Staker Parson Companies and its subcontractors resurfaced a four mile stretch of State Street between 400 South and 3000 South – spanning both Salt Lake and South Salt Lake cities. Crews replaced old asphalt with a one inch Open Graded Surface Course (OGSC), rebuilt 141 pedestrian ramps and 23 medians, and upgraded traffic signals at 12 intersections. The $4 million project started in late April and was successfully completed in late July.

This section of State Street was last resurfaced in 2004. The roadway was starting to form potholes, and concrete medians were reaching the end of their design life. These factors indicated to UDOT that a preservation project was needed. The new pavement surface is expected to last eight to ten years and the concrete work including the new pedestrian ramps and medians is expected to last 30 to 40 years.

With work taking place on a seven-lane arterial in a central business district, the State Street resurfacing project presented several construction challenges. Cars consistently parked in the work zone near downtown Salt Lake City, which required extra signage to control. The old utilities in South Salt Lake were fragile to work around, and the unusually rainy July caused minor schedule changes. The Region Two crew and contractor team worked together to successfully complete work on time in spite of these challenges.

Aerial photo of State Street looking southTo minimize impacts to drivers and businesses, most of the work on the project was scheduled during overnight hours. The project team coordinated closely with local business owners and residents throughout construction to keep them apprised of upcoming access and parking restrictions, overnight work, and other potential impacts. The public involvement team distributed fliers, answered hotline calls and responded to emails to address concerns and respond to questions.

In addition to businesses and residents, key project stakeholders included Salt Lake City, South Salt Lake City, UTA, Intermountain Harley Davidson, the Utah Pride Festival (UPF) and the Utah Arts Festival (UAF). During the project, Intermountain Harley Davidson attracted a few thousand motorcyclists to a series of events, such as the MDA Rock & Roll Ride and the Demo Days Ride; UPF attracted over 20,000 attendees, and UAP attracted over 80,000 attendees. Special efforts were made to modify the construction schedule to accommodate these festivals and other events. This coordination helped promote a safe and accessible festival experience.

The project received media attention at the beginning of construction. Fox 13 wrote a story that highlighted the type of work taking place on the State Street. As part of the story, Resident Engineer Bryan Chamberlain and Wild Mushroom Pizza owner James Zuiter were both interviewed. Chamberlain emphasized how crews worked at night to get the most done while impacting the fewest people, and Zuiter confirmed that despite the short-term inconvenience, business owners appreciate a freshly surfaced road.

The State Street project was accomplished on time, within budget, and with minimal inconvenience to the public. The newly-resurfaced road, reconstructed medians, and new pedestrian ramps will provide a smoother ride for drivers and enhance safety for pedestrians for years to come.

This guest post was originally published in the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

December 16th, 2014

Dan Betts Silver Barrel

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Guest Post.

Dan Betts received a Silver Barrel Award for his solution to striping problems on I-80 in Parley’s Canyon. After receiving several complaints about low striping visibility Dan and UDOT Central Maintenance determined there was a problem. Dan contacted the manufacturer because the striping was still under warranty and came up with a great solution.

  • The manufacturer would replace the striping tape on I-80 between Mt. Aires Exit 132 and Lambs Canyon Exit 137, including installation and traffic control.
  • The upper section of I-80 from Lambs Canyon Exit 137 to Kimball Junction Exit 145 paint would be applied over the existing striping tape since the pavement is in need of treatment and tape would not be cost effective. The manufacturer would install the paint including the traffic control.
  • UDOT Region Two would provide the grooves for the striping tape to be applied.
  • The manufacturer would provide an additional four year warranty for the entire section, both taped and painted.

Through Dan’s efforts and negotiating skills he was able to improve striping on I-80 through Parley’s Canyon.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel Nomination submitted to the UDOT Administration Office.

Schematic for project planning

Schematic for project planning

The UDOT Research Division recently updated their Project Management Checklist. The checklist is a tool for use in planning and monitoring progress of new research projects at UDOT. It is available on the Research Division website under Project Tool Box, along with a new Project Management Worksheet which helps to define the project prior to contracting with a university or consultant.

A previous version of the checklist had been in use for several months and was based on project management training given to UDOT regional and central project managers by Ernie Nielsen of BYU. In early 2014 the Research Division staff received additional training from Ernie Nielsen in using the project planning principles within the checklist, including an exercise using an actual new research project. Based on that exercise the checklist was refined and the worksheet was created in July 2014.

Project management worksheet excerpt

Project management worksheet excerpt

The updated checklist is a simplified version of the previous one and is well suited for the typical size of research projects funded at UDOT. The new worksheet helps key individuals inside and outside UDOT, representing groups most affected by and most able to contribute to the research, to define the project objective and deliverables. These tools help research project managers involve the right people in planning and conducting the research, preparing the way for effective implementation of research results at UDOT.

Research projects at UDOT typically have much smaller budgets, have fewer activities or tasks, and are more focused on incremental process improvements than regular UDOT projects. UDOT research projects are usually completed within one or two years, and the majority of these come from the annual Research Workshop where submitted problem statements are prioritized. Both types of projects can benefit from the same project management principles, including effective planning and scheduling of tasks and resources. Scheduling tools used on UDOT research projects vary from basic MS Project files to spreadsheets to track tasks and milestones.

We look forward to working with our research project champions, technical advisory committees, and researchers while benefiting together from using these new tools.

This guest post was written by Davis Stevens, P.E., UDOT Research Project Manager and was originally published in the Fall 2014 Research Newsletter.

Photo of team members standing with Governor Herbert.

Team members with Governor Herbert. From left to right: Shane Marshall, Mark Taylor, Carrie Jacobson, Shane Johnson, Governor Herbert, Rob Clayton, Derek Lowe, Jamie Mackey, Peter Jager and Matt Luker.

For the last three years UDOT’s traffic signal management team has been focused on bringing innovative solutions to Utahns. The team was recently recognized by receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence from Governor Gary Herbert.

The signal management team has been working on in-house solutions to better track and time traffic signals across the state. UDOT worked with the Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue University to create software that provides real time traffic information to UDOT. The program was then developed by UDOT and the Department of Technology Services (DTS) and is a web based Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measurement System (SPMs).

SPMs are a series of visual aids that display high-resolution traffic data from vehicle sensors and traffic signal controllers (intersection computers changing the traffic signals) that help agencies effectively manage traffic signals in ways that improve mobility, increase safety, reduce vehicle emissions, preserve pavement infrastructure and use resources more effectively. In most cases on UDOT state roadways, SPMs are accomplished utilizing the same vehicle sensors already deployed at signalized intersections for normal day-to-day operations without the necessity of having to install expensive new equipment or sensors.

The sensors allow analysis of data collected 24-hours a day, 7-days a week (not just during business hours), and provide a clear framework for performance analysis and decision-making. The transportation community uses SPMs to directly measure what they previously could only estimate and model.

The use of the real time and accurate information helps traffic signal engineers make better decisions on signal timing and traffic patterns. Bangerter Highway is a good example of how accurate information helps move traffic. The SPMs were able to increase the amount of cars that reached the intersections at a green light by 19%. The information has also helped with moving large amounts of traffic during one time or recurring special events.

All of this information helps commuters stay on the move, saving them time and money. The cost for this program and the cost of a traffic signal change is very low compared to the amount of travel savings day by day.

In an effort to help traffic around the state UDOT has shared this technology with counties and cities so that they can better understand and monitor their traffic signals. UDOT hopes that the SPM’s will help them to get a more comprehensive idea of their traffic patterns and signal accordingly.

Mark Taylor a Traffic Signal Operations Engineer said “Innovations, creativity, risk and increased transparency are necessary to meet UDOT’s needs.  Automated performance traffic measures allows us to optimize mobility, increase safety and use resources more efficiently.”

UDOT’s goal is to continually refine the use of technology in traffic signals and timing in the future. They are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and their ultimate goal of keeping Utah moving.

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

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Department of Transportation crews canvassed the urban interstate across the Wasatch Front, replacing speed limit signs while officially changing the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph.

A new 70 mph speed limit sign waits to be installed.

A new 70 mph speed limit sign waits to be installed.

In an effort to optimize mobility and Keep Utah Moving, crews from UDOT Regions One, Two and Three spent all day on December 8th, changing out 99 signs from Spanish Fork to Ogden. In many instances, the crews simply placed a decal on the existing sign, but several of the older signs were replaced outright.

The speed limit increased on Interstates 15, 80 and 215. However, two sections of I-80 will remain at 65 mph, as engineering studies show the terrain doesn’t allow for a speed increase.

The choice to implement the new speed limits was based on several studies, and in response to last year’s legislation (H.B. 80).

Utah is not the first state to raise speed limits to 70 mph or faster. Nearly one-third of the United States has speed limits set at 70 mph or faster in urban areas, and more than two-thirds of states have increased them in rural areas.

UDOT workers change out speed limit signs on I-80 westbound

UDOT workers change out speed limit signs on I-80 westbound

 

Photo of Wasatch MountainsMountain Accord is a public process initiated to gather input from local residents and stakeholders and make long-term decisions regarding the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. By using public input and previous research as a framework, the project team and active participants are evaluating four major topic areas and how they relate to each other in the central Wasatch region: transportation, environment, recreation and economy.

Mountain Accord is made up of more than 20 diverse organizations including local, state and federal government entities, members of the local business community and several non-profit organizations. Region Two Director Nathan Lee is representing UDOT on the Mountain Accord Executive Board that was formed to provide consensus-based oversight, solicit funding, resolve disputes, approve recommendations, and set the overall program direction and policy.

The Mountain Accord process consists of two principle phases. Phase one began in January 2014. Since then, small stakeholder working groups have been studying current and projected future conditions within the study area in Salt Lake, Summit, and Wasatch counties. The process is drawing from continuous public input, existing plans and studies, and collaboration among Mountain Accord’s participating agencies and key stakeholders.

Several Region Two officials participate in these working groups and are using this information to develop potential future scenarios for the central Wasatch Mountains and canyons that address transportation, environment, recreation and economic goals. These alternatives are scheduled to be open for public review and input in December, with public open houses scheduled for early January. Phase one will culminate in the selection of a preferred scenario and specific actions for each of the four areas of interest.

During Phase Two, the Mountain Accord project team will work through appropriate agencies and entities to implement these proposed actions. For more information about Mountain Accord and how you can get involved in this important process to shape the future of the central Wasatch, visit www.mountainaccord.com.

This guest post was originally published in the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

Executive Director Carlos Braceras recently awarded Silver Barrels to several Region Four employees for their efforts in clearing S.R. 95.

Area Engineer

  • Jim Chandler

Blanding Maintenance Station

  • Vance Adams
  • Montana Carr
  • Forrest Crofts
  • Cletis Hatch
  • Paul Marian

Moab Maintenance Station

  • Justin Woodard

Monticello Maintenance Station

  • Ruel Todd Randall

Thompson Maintenance Station

  • Von Bowerman
  • Devan Meadows

Details of their efforts are included below and were taken directly from the nomination.

“This summer employees of the Region Four East District Blasting Crew and the Blanding Maintenance Station came together under the direction of Area Engineer Jim Chandler to clear a massive rock slide on S.R. 95 at Comb Ridge west of Blanding. The crews worked in concert to mobilize equipment, control traffic, purchase explosives and remove material in order to reopen the road in record time.”

“Crew members traveled from Thompson Springs, Moab and Monticello to join forces with the Blanding crew. Twenty-five bore holes were drilled and blasted to facilitate the safe and quick removal of the slide material with rubber tire loaders and backhoes. Thank you to all who took part to safely complete this emergency project, it was a job well done!”

Photos of crews removing rockslide from S.R. 95

SALT LAKE CITY — The pioneering sprit has always been in Utah’s blood. From the Winchester rifle, Word Perfect and wider Pioneer Streets, to the Roadometer and Television, Utah has always tried to be at the forefront of technology.

In the digital age, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has continued as a technological pioneer, especially in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). It was recently awarded a “Best of ITS” award by the ITS World Congress this fall for its Citizen Reporter app, which was piloted during the 2012-2013 winter season.

Citizen Report Screenshot

A screenshot of the Citizen Report app

The app, which is the first of its kind in the United States, is aimed at Keeping Utah Moving, specifically during winter months. It allows citizen volunteers to report on road weather conditions along specific roadways across the Beehive State, after a short training session. These reports give enhanced road weather information to travelers when the stakes are the highest — during inclement weather. 

In large, sparsely populated states like Utah, state DOTs have trouble providing up-to-the-minute accuracy on road conditions to travelers. It’s especially tough in Utah, where nearly 1,000 cameras statewide still can’t see every inch of roadway. But that’s where crowd sourcing from citizen reporters comes in, providing more accurate and timely information to the traveling public on conditions around the state.

Lisa Miller, UDOT’s Traveler Information Manager, said the program was extremely successful, with over 1100 reports last year from approximately 500 reporters. She predicts four times the usage of the app this coming year.

“Our early concern was that the data might not be reliable,” Miller said. “But what we’ve found is that the incoming data is 99% accurate.”

Other states, such as Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota have requested information from UDOT to create similar programs in those states. The success of the program has spurred the department to produce another app, called Click N Fix, which allows the public to report potholes, burnt out highway lights, and other safety issues. The app will be more widely available to the public in early 2015.

The 2014 ITS World Congress

UDOT was awarded a “Best of ITS” award for “Best New Innovative Practice” in September.

“Crowd-sourcing is emerging as an effective means to both engage and serve the public, Miller said. “The public can now make more informed travel decisions, which impacts everything: safety, mobility, and the economy.”

To become a Citizen Reporter:

In order to become a UDOT Citizen Reporter, you will need to complete a brief training (either online or in person), take a short quiz and complete a sign-up form. The training takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once a volunteer has completed these steps, they will be provided with a login and PIN, and can begin submitting reports. Reports are submitted through the UDOT Citizen Reporting app, downloadable for Android and Apple devices from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

If you would like to become a Citizen Reporter, please follow this link to take the online training: www.udottraffic.utah.gov/training/citizenreporter. For more information or to schedule an in person training, email UDOTCitizenReporter@utah.gov.

You can download the Citizen Reports app for your iPhone or Android device.

 

PANGUITCH — In a state where innovation is consistently used to Keep Utah Moving, sometimes innovation alone isn’t enough. Unique partnerships between state agencies can be the perfect additional ingredient to accomplish the improbable.

In rural southern Utah, where equipment and manpower are sometimes as few and far between as the towns in the region, innovation and partnering got a much-needed job done quickly and efficiently, while minimizing the use of taxpayer dollars.

Recently, UDOT’s shed 4469 in Panguitch teamed up with Bryce Canyon National Park to create a shoulder on a seven-mile stretch of Scenic Byway SR-143. This stretch of Utah’s “Patchwork Parkway” was in great need of a shoulder, because a simple task like plowing the road or pulling over created potential safety issues.

The project required tools neither the department nor the national park possessed alone. So to combat this issue, they came together to pool resources and manpower to finish the job in a few days, saving each agency valuable time and money.

“The stars just lined up,” said Panguitch Shed manager Robert Brown. “Down here, we’re all neighbors, and you have to get creative to help each other out and get things done.”

Normally, a similar project requires a team of at least six to eight workers, with three on a shouldering machine alone. But with only two full-time employees at the shed, Brown and his counterpart at Bryce Canyon had to think outside of the box. Here are some of the highlights:

• Bryce Canyon provided side delivery dump trucks that offered a more efficient use of asphalt. Standard machines provide four feet of material, even if only two feet are needed.
• UDOT’s grader was used to accomplish both the grading and compaction tasks, as the shoulder in the area is too steep to use conventional steel drum rollers.
• The asphalt used on the project was recycled and obtained from a pit in nearby Hatch, Utah at nearly one-third of the cost of new asphalt.
• The project was completed in two days, with two UDOT Panguitch Shed employees and two Bryce Canyon employees.
• A pull-behind broom hooked to a pickup truck cleaned the road with two passes.

For Brown, the lesson is simple: when government entities work and plan together, the result can be a win-win for both, as well as the surrounding communities.

“Without the shared resources, we wouldn’t have been able to do the job,” Brown said. “I think this shows that governments need to think outside of the box more to collaborate.”

A new UPLAN gallery of web maps and apps, with information about upcoming projects, is now available through UPlan.

The gallery makes data on the UDOT Three Year Plan available to project managers, UDOT employees, policy makers and the general public. Projects are organized by program funding source, year and UDOT region. The gallery also has a web map of future planning through 2020.

The live data advantage

The online information can be referenced by employees across the department, or by UDOT and local governments to assure that all are viewing and using the correct information. The project data is updated nightly, so data is kept as current as possible.

Having dynamic, easily accessible information via the gallery enhances collaboration across UDOT divisions so projects can be synchronized to use resources effectively and reduce impact to the public. The gallery improves agency transparency since anyone with a web connection can use the gallery to view planned projects.

What is UDOT’s Three Year Plan?

Screen Shot of the Three Year Plan WebsiteThe projects in the Three Year Plan have been identified and prioritized by each of the four UDOT regions. The projects address UDOT’s three strategic goals, Zero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, Optimize Mobility, and Preserve Infrastructure.  Funding sources have also been identified for each project.

The main advantage for UDOT in having a three year program of road construction projects is coordination, says William Lawrence, Director of UDOT Program Finance. The plan lets the department evaluate the program as a whole and “helps maximize efficiency,” he says. For example, two projects in close proximity in American Fork, each planned for different years, were recently combined into one project that will take place in 2017. In this case, combining projects is a better use of financial resources, and “construction will only impact the public once,” says Lawrence.

To find the Three Year Plan gallery, access the UDOT Data Portal at data.utah.gov, click the UPLAN thumbnail, then click the 3-Year Plan thumbnail in UPLAN. Instructions for searching for or sorting projects are included in the gallery.