UDOT places top priority on the safety of road users and construction workers on I-15 CORE and every other project.
A Salt Lake Tribune letter to the editor printed last week addresses the new I-15 CORE project work zone configuration that splits directional traffic around the work zone and asks about the safety of workers. The letter is a good sign – it shows that people are paying attention to the news about how the work zone has changed. Letting drivers know about changes is an important safety precaution.
The I-15 CORE project team has planned for this unusual traffic configuration for many months now, and even though the split is atypical, UDOT has made the work zone as safe as possible for workers and road users.
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices is the standard guidebook for temporary or permanent roadway features.
A work zone is a Temporary Traffic Control zone, according to the MUTCD, which states that “road user and worker safety and accessibility in TTC zones should be an integral and high-priority element of every project from planning through design and construction.”
Here are some ways I-15 CORE and other UDOT projects are planned and engineered for safety:
- Before construction, traffic control plans are developed and given to all workers who have a safety role to play. The plan shows temporary features such as barriers and signs. Alternate routes are also identified. Comments, suggestions and changes are made until the final plan is agreed upon by all parties.
- TTC zone features, such as signs, lane markings and barriers, must approximate permanent features as closely as possible. Many TTC zone elements are designed to give drivers visual cues that trigger an appropriate response – that way, driver expectancy is increased.
- UDOT goes beyond the standards in the MUTCD by requiring signs with higher reflectivity, reflective flags on all temporary signs and adding high speed rated orange barrels in tapers (merging areas).
- Adequate pre-warning signs are used to make road users aware of the change well ahead of the TTC zone.
- Lane markings or other features that don’t apply to the TTC zone are covered or removed.
- Work areas are separated from traffic by concrete barrier that is designed to withstand severe impact without failing. The shape of the barriers also redirect vehicles back into the traffic lanes.
- TTC zones are inspected multiple times a day and once a night by trained professionals who are very familiar with MUTCD standards. During the inspection, features like damaged signs or worn pavement markings need are identified. Inspectors and other project workers also observe traffic behavior to assess how the TTC zone is working and changes are made if necessary.
- UDOT encourages the voluntary use of TravelWise strategies that can significantly reduce traffic volume through the project corridor.
- Good public relations practices are also stressed in the MUTCD. UDOT takes great care in identifying, notifying and updating all stakeholders, including commuters, emergency workers, business owners, employment centers and residents near the project. PR professionals use a variety of methods to update stakeholders, including contacting print and broadcast media, social media, project hotlines, videos like the one above, email up-dates and speaking face-to-face with groups or individuals.
Most crashes can be avoided
Most work zone crashes are caused by motorists who speed or drive distracted. Don’t put yourself, your passengers, other drivers or construction workers at risk by looking at construction activity, texting, eating or changing radio stations. Keep your attention on the roadway!
For more information about I-15 CORE or other UDOT projects in your area or on your commute, visit the customizable UDOT website.