Monthly Archives: February 2012


A yearly publication outlines accomplishments and shows how UDOT plans to move forward.

bridges under construction in being built in the interchange infield near Provo Center Street.

UDOT publishes the Strategic Direction and Performance Measures yearly to set the state’s transportation stage, communicate how construction, maintenance and safety projects improve the system, and to chart the road ahead. Utah is facing unprecedented growth in population and Vehicle Miles Traveled. The combination of factors poses a challenge, but efforts to expand capacity and make the system more efficient are helping Utahns avoid transportation gridlock.

“We have stemmed the tide,” when it comes to travel delay, explained UDOT Director John Njord today at the Utah Transportation Commission Meeting. Njord reviewed pages from the Strategic Direction, which has recently been added to the UDOT website, and highlighted some key points for commission members.

Delay has been defeated by tactically executed capacity projects. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

A graph that tracks travel delay with and without recent and planned capacity projects illustrates Njord’s point. Delay has been defeated by tactically executed capacity projects without witch road users would experience three to five times the amount of delay. Njord hopes to continue to make system wide improvements and believes that planned projects, if funded, will leave a “legacy for the citizens that come after us.”

Other important themes in the new Strategic Direction include:

  • Increasing capacity—a look at major capacity projects, including the I-15 CORE project and the Mountain View Corridor. Both projects will be completed by the end of 2012
  • Employing Innovation – UDOT has long taken pride in the innovative techniques. Last year, UDOT used Accelerated Bridge Technology to build and move the Sam White Bridge into place on I-15 – the pioneering process holds the record in the Western Hemisphere for the longest structure to be moved into place.
  • Express Lanes success – Thousands of Utahns saving travel time by using the Express Lanes. During peak traffic, users travel about 14 miles per hour faster than the general lanes.
  • New technology – the best and most up-to-date information from UDOT’s Traffic Operation Center is available in a new smart phone app. Nearly 30,000 people downloaded the app in the first four weeks since its release.

The Strategic Direction, which has recently been added to UDOT’s website, can be viewed online or in PDF.


Transportation projects are planned, designed and carried out by teams of engineers, construction workers and, wait for it…communicators.

Public open house

While their role varies depending on the type or stage of the project, communicators who talk to and interact with project teams encourage public participation, which is critical to the engineers, construction crews and stakeholders that plan, build and drive on transportation facilities. The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) is a professional organization that focuses on ways to encourage effective interaction with the public.

IAP2 promotes decision-oriented, values-based, goal-driven Public Participation. Skilled practitioners understand that interacting with the public honestly and fairly is an ethical responsibility. And, that getting good participation ultimately makes for a better project.

The Utah Chapter of  IAP2 is hosting training for communicators who work in public participation March 12-16, 2012 at the UDOT Traffic Operations Center. The classes will help students establish a knowledge base to help them work effectively with the public on a range of activities from influencing the direction of a project to informing the public about construction progress. It’s a fast-track route for Public Participation novices.


An urban reconstruction project in Ogden, Utah received high honors from the American Concrete Pavement Association.


The Riverdale Road reconstruction project is a Gold winner in the National Excellence in Concrete Pavement Awards. Every year, an independent panel of judges selects quality concrete projects from the United States and Canada to receive special recognition. Engineers, project owners and contractors on each project team share the award.

Riverdale Road intersects a vital business district and connects four Utah cities with Interstates 15 and 84. Over 47 thousand vehicles travel the corridor daily. The project expanded the major arterial from five lane roadway to a seven lane concrete corridor between 55o West to Washington Boulevard.

The success of the project hinged on the construction team maintaining a demanding construction schedule while also maintaining access for nearly 100 businesses located along the corridor. High utility conflicts The PI team was stellar at keeping business owners informed and responding to questions and concerns.  To accommodate busy winter road use, construction took a break between mid December and January 1.

Work resumed in early 2010 and even with the interruption, the project was completed 24 days ahead of schedule. The project also finished within budget with zero recordable incidents or lost time accidents.

The prime contractor was Granite Construction. Geneva Rock Products placed the concrete pavement on the roadway. The design and engineering was performed by Michael Baker and Parson’s Brinkerhoff. Public Involvement was provided by Frontline Public Involvement Inc. and Penna, Powers, Brian Haynes Public Relations.

In addition to awards programs, the ACPA offers a wide range of education, training seminars, workshops, symposia, and other events to support the concrete paving industry.


Pavement made from natural asphalt mined in Utah will be placed in Uintah County this spring.

A Plant Mixed Oil Sands Asphalt demonstration took place in fall of 2011. Natural occurring asphalt in the oil sands acts as the binder – no additional binder is specified in the in the mix design.

The Uintah Transportation Special Services District’s Seep Ridge Road Project will use a newly formulated specification for Plant Mixed Oil Sand Asphalt – PMOSA. According to Kimball Young, the spec produces pavement that is reverse-engineered to live up to oil sands roads that are still in good shape 40 years after being placed.

Pavement made from oil sands has been shown to be flexible and durable in the field.

Young is President of Natural Asphalt Solutions, Inc., a privately funded company focusing on research and development of products using oil sands.

Pavement made from oil sands has been shown to be flexible and durable in the field. Randlett Road, the Bonanza Highway and SR-121, between Maeser to Lapoint near Vernal, Utah, show minimal wear and very few ruts and cracks compared to other asphalt roads that carry similar loads. However the mix used on those roads differ – the Maeser pavement was placed using road-mix method and the Bonanza Highway pavement is a hot-mix design. Young’s challenge is to develop a mix design that is reproducible.

Just like a conventional HMA project, paving with PMOSA needs to be “reviewed, monitored and tested throughout the process,” says Young. The oil sand content of PMOSA varies from 33 to 40 percent with the average about 36 percent, Young explains. The variation allows for some field judgment when formulating the product, “depending on how it coats the aggregate.” Natural occurring asphalt contained in the oil sands acts as the binder – no additional binder is specified in the in the mix design.

Finding an effective way to introduce the oil sands to aggregate at the plant is an ongoing challenge. Oil sands particles can be anywhere from “pea sized to orange size” in the field, according to UDOT Engineer for Asphalt Materials Kevin VanFrank. Under laboratory conditions, tests of the PMOSA mix design meets UDOT standards for low volume roads. But, “it’s the scale up, the transition between the lab and the plant that has yet to be demonstrated.”

During the mixing process, the oil sands particles need to get hot enough to bond to the aggregate, and that bonding is not likely to occur with large particles. According to VanFrank “the problem is delivering the material uniformly…they face continued challenges.”

Problems aside, the technology along with the properties realized by using oil sands in pavement is promising. Van Frank believes the effort is worthwhile. Providing new products to the market is a function of the free enterprise system, and so far no other organizations have stepped forward to take on that role.

The Seep Ridge Road will be built south of US 40 and extend to the Uintah County line.