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.

If you’ve ever had a flat tire, run out of gas, or driven by a crash on Utah’s roadways, chances are you’ve seen the white Incident Management trucks loaded with orange traffic cones, their electronic signs on the top with vital information. An integral part of how the state deals with time-sapping events on our roadways, UDOT’s Incident Management Team has 15 teams on call statewide for just about anything that can happen.

But it wasn’t always that way: After 20 years, it’s time to celebrate the service of the unsung heroes of the IMT team.

Incident Management Team

IMT members Billy Frashure, Nick Jarrett, Mark Whittaker, Jeff Reynolds and Alan Peterson are some of the professionals keeping Utah drivers safe. Photo by Adan Carrillo

In 1994, UDOT started a courtesy patrol — two trucks assigned to help drivers in the Salt Lake Area. But time and demand have increased the IMT’s role. No longer is the team looked at as a courtesy — but a necessity — in keeping Utah freeways safe and traffic moving from Logan to St. George and everywhere in between.

Consider this: since 2004, the IMT has helped more than 120,000 motorists in the Beehive State. With these professionals specifically trained in clearing crashes off the road quickly and then staying on the scene, emergency personnel and the Highway Patrol can focus on what they do best while knowing IMT is protecting them on the road.

Another important stat: with each minute saved by clearing a crash, five minutes of delays are prevented. Clearing crashes also helps prevent secondary crashes.

“Think of how many drivers have been helped since 1994, how many injuries have been prevented, or lives saved?” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras during a celebration on Monday. “IMT is a critical piece to help us reach our goal of Zero Fatalities.”

Braceras went on to give all of us safety tips to help IMT and UDOT out with the goal of Zero Fatalities on Utah roads:

  • Don’t stop on the freeway unless it’s an emergency
  • If you ARE involved in an incident, stay in your car with your seat belt on.
  • Slow down and move over to the next lane if you see a vehicle on the side of the road — it’s the law to do so for emergency vehicles.
  • Make sure you have enough fuel to make your trip safely
  • Check your spare tire to see if it’s in working condition
  • Prepare for the worst weather by keeping a blanket, food and water in the car.
  • Leave a lot of distance between you and the car in front of you.
Five Incident Management Team Vehicles offered the media ride-alongs to give them a better idea of what it’s like to be an IMT professional. Photo by Adan Carrillo.

Five Incident Management Team Vehicles offered the media ride-alongs to give them a better idea of what it’s like to be an IMT professional. Photo by Adan Carrillo.

Photo of mule deer at a crossingEach fall the Paunsaugunt mule deer herd migrates off the Paunsaugunt Plateau near Bryce Canyon, to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and across U.S. 89 to winter habitat in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In spring they return to the Paunsaugunt Plateau. During the migrations mule deer were killed on U.S. 89 in wildlife-vehicle collisions, which also posed a hazard for drivers. Historic data revealed that there was an average of 132 mule deer-vehicle collisions each year along U.S. 89 from Arizona to Kanab. As a result, UDOT and partner agencies came up with a strategy to add wildlife exclusion fencing to U.S. 89 east of Kanab in the migration area to funnel the mule deer and other wildlife to four existing structures, and to create three new constructed wildlife crossing culverts under the highway.

The creation of this wildlife mitigation marks a new era of inter-agency and non-profit partnerships to protect wildlife across roads. UDOT partnered with Utah Division of Wildlife (UDWR) to include multiple partners on this project, including Arizona Game and Fish (AZFGD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), US Bureau of Land Management Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Kane County, the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and others to come up with the funding and strategies to help mule deer migrate under U.S. 89.

The U.S. 89 Kanab Paunsaugunt Project partners brought together over 2.5 million dollars to install 12 miles of wildlife exclusion fencing and three wildlife culvert underpasses in the center of the stretch. Utah State University became a research partner, installing wildlife monitoring cameras at all structures and fence ends. In 2013 the mitigation was completed, research cameras were installed, and mule deer began moving under U.S. 89 in September.

As the mule deer migration began and camera data came in, it became apparent some mule deer were becoming restricted in their ability to use the structures because of cattle fences and people, and that the agency partnership needed to continue to work together to help make the mitigation most effective.

UDWR and BLM worked together to make small changes to fencing and gates to increases mule deer ability to use the structures, which were partially blocked by traditional cattle allotment boundary fences and gates under the road in the culverts and bridges.

In the fall during the peak of migration, mule deer may have become more skittish toward using the structures in part due to sports people scouting areas and individual animals for the hunt. Human presence combined with the restricted space of culverts and bridges that the mule deer were now expected to move through, the deer congregated near the fencing along the highway. People traveling on the freeway saw the deer and stopped to take a look. UDOT responded by placing variable message signs to discourage motorists from pulling over. UDWR contacted hunters who will be hunting in the area in 2014 with a message asking hunters to stay a distance away from crossing structures.

“We’re very interested to see how it works out this year,” says UDOT Project Manager Randall Taylor. “This project does not cover the whole migration area but it’s an important first step.”

The fall 2013 photographs documented over 3,000 times mule deer used the structures or went around fence ends to migrate south. The 2014 migration is expected to show as many or more passages through these increasingly effective wildlife crossing structures. Continued agency coordination and research will help this herd and other wildlife stay clear of the highway while still accessing critical habitat on both sides of U.S. 89.

Additional information about the project and partnerships can be found in the Western Governors’ Association April 2014 Case Study.

This guest post was written by Patricia Cramer, PhD USU Assistant Research Professor

Photo of I-15 near Payson

This capacity project added a lane and shoulder in each direction

The I-15 Payson to Spanish Fork project was one of the largest construction projects in Region Three in 2013.

The ambitious $22 million, 6.5 mile design-build project recently received the “2014 Excellence in Concrete Award” in the category of Structures: Public Works for the concrete work on the bridges.

The project was fast-paced, with 7 months to widen 8 structures and extend pavement into the existing median for an extra lane and wider inside shoulder.

In addition to being widened, the existing bridge substructures were repaired to increase service life. The project also included constructing two miles of precast concrete post and panel noise walls on the east side of I-15 through Payson.

The I-15 Payson to Spanish Fork project improved a vital connection between the north and south half of the state for both commuters and the movement of goods and services. The rapid pace of the project and public coordination created little impact or inconvenience to the traveling public.