June 22nd, 2011

TAKE THE HIGHWAY

Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

Enjoy a view of transportation past on Utah State History’s website.

Ogden Canyon was open to traffic during construction while workers placed asphalt on the dirt road. This photo, taken May 26, 1921, is part of a transportation themed slide show. (Photo used by permission, Utah State Historical Society, all rights reserved. )

A new slide show available through the  Utah State History website shows images in black and white — but the photos are still colorful. Men working on a bridge with no safety gear, steam powered equipment and construction of a road in front of the newly-built Utah State Capitol all attest to Utah’s fascinating transportation past. The slide show is a cooperative effort between UDOT and the Utah Division of History.

Lynn Bernhard, Maintenance Methods Engineer for UDOT

The images were chosen from over 40,000 historic photographs available online. Lynn Bernhard, Maintenance Methods Engineer for UDOT looked at the photos, reviewed the captions.

It only took Lynn a few minutes to spot features that a non-engineer (like yours-truly) might not see. For instance, Lynn knew that the asphalt being placed in front of the Utah State Capitol is hot mix because “you have to roll it right away,” and the equipment used to move a bridge girder is called a stiff-leg derrick.

Alycia Aldrich, Webmaster for the Division of State History, developed the slide show “as part of State History’s commitment to connect people with stories and images of Utah’s past.”

Aldrich noticed that the old machines looks quite different that what’s used to build roads and bridges today. “The images used in the slideshow are very interesting, the equipment they had available for their use was very primitive.  Its amazing that they were able to get the job done with such limited resources.”

But get the job done they did, while trying to reduce inconvenience to motorists. A caption on a photo of workers placing asphalt in Ogden Canyon (above) reads in part “traffic open during construction.” Today, UDOT places a high priority on reducing delay caused by construction projects.

“In addition to these online images, our Research Center has thousands of additional photographs that are available,” says Aldrich. She hopes the slideshow will encourage people to search and use the images for use at work, historical research or personal enjoyment.

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Responses to “TAKE THE HIGHWAY”

  1. I think this is where someone said the best place is to post comments about our roadways. I really think you should open up the HOV lane to everyone at point of the mountain southbound and before point of the mountain going northbound. There have been numerous accidents going southbound and I think it’s because they have that area under construction and that lane that exits to sr92 is getting really backed which is causing the other lanes to back up as people try to quickly or in some cases not so quickly switch to the next lane over. This must be a valid enough reason to open it up since that’s what they’ve done in Utah county further south.

  2. Maybe easier to leave a route open to traffic back then when there were only a couple thousand people in the whole state and a combined twenty cars or so … I enjoyed the slide show very much. I will have to look through the other pictures that State History has. Looks like there are quite a few treasures.

  3. Scott Thompson, Public Involvement Manager in Region Two replied to your comment: The HOV lane was made a travel lane by I-15 CORE from Lehi Main Street to Spanish Fork Main Street. This was done to keep as many lanes of traffic open as possible during construction. There have been and will continue to be times when we will close one or more lanes for construction in the CORE project. Having the HOV a general travel lane helps keep traffic moving for everyone. The exit at Highland/Alpine (S.R. 92) was congested in the afternoon peak commute times before any construction began at the interchange. The congestion is likely a bit worse now with construction, but should be greatly improved with the new Diverging Diamond configuration. The S.R. 92 project is not affected I-15 nearly as much as the CORE project and there’s really not a need to make the HOV lane a general purpose lane in this area. I’m not sure opening up that lane we really solve the problem. You would have drivers crossing two lanes of traffic to get over there and I’m not sure that would be any safer. I don’t think you can really say accidents in the area are more frequent now because of construction at the interchange. Opening up the HOV lane for the CORE makes sense. I’m not sure doing the same at S.R. 92 makes any sense.

    Catherine Higgins at June 28, 2011 10:23 am
  4. wow i would have loved to be at Ogden Canyon during those times… no traffic! open to traffice haha! There si so much traffic on the S.R. 92 I just avoid it altogether!

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