Monthly Archives: March 2015

First yellow flashing right turn arrow arrives in Utah

LEHI — Northern Utah County is developing at a rapid pace, emerging as a new frontier of the high-tech industry. In addition to retail attractions such as Cabela’s and the Outlets at Traverse Mountain, the area around I-15 at Timpanogos Highway (SR-92) has been dubbed the “Silicon Slopes,” attracting businesses who want affordable office space, a reliable talent pool from area universities and the high quality of life Utahns enjoy with a variety of outdoor recreation options just minutes away.

With all this development, UDOT continually evaluates how to improve traffic flow through the I-15/SR-92 interchange.

The latest update to the interchange is also a first in Utah: crews installed the state’s first flashing yellow right turn arrow at the northbound I-15 off-ramp to eastbound SR-92 in Lehi. You have probably driven through dozens of flashing yellow left turn arrows, where turning traffic yields but may make a left if there is no oncoming traffic. So why does the flashing yellow right turn arrow work at this interchange?

A flashing yellow arrow on a right hand turn on SR-92 allows traffic to flow more freely in a fast-growing part of Utah County.

A flashing yellow arrow on a right hand turn on SR-92 allows traffic to flow more freely in a fast-growing part of Utah County.

 

“The right turn goes into a lane that takes people to the SR-92 commuter lane, but a lot of people want to make a left into Adobe or Cabela’s,” said UDOT Region Three Signal Engineer Adam Lough. “We were seeing traffic back up and drivers getting frustrated because people who wanted to cross traffic to get to the left lane would be stopped on a green light. The flashing yellow signals a yield condition for drivers who want to move to the left lane on SR-92 as well as for the queue of traffic on the ramp.”

Now when the light is green, there is no eastbound traffic for drivers to weave through to move left; and during the flashing yellow, drivers who want to move left must wait for a safe opening in the traffic flow. Drivers who want to access the SR-92 commuter lanes from the I-15 northbound off-ramp still get impatient at times, but Lough said the flashing yellow right turn arrow has improved the traffic flow. “This provides a safer condition and has reduced the amount of backing on the ramp.”

Lough developed the idea of using a flashing yellow right turn arrow to address the traffic problems at this interchange ramp. Although UDOT had never installed anything like it, Lough suggested that it would be the best solution and worked with Traffic Operations Center staff to implement it. So far, he is pleased with the results.

“I am always looking for better ways to do things,” he said. “It is rewarding to see how changes like this make people’s commute a little better.”

Lough said the signal is almost always green or flashing yellow, but it briefly turns solid yellow and red as part of the signal’s cycle. The pedestrian button also triggers the red arrow.

“There is quite a bit of pedestrian traffic between the employment centers and retail outlets on either side of I-15 in this area,” Lough said. “Drivers really need to be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists moving through this interchange.”

Mtn View Corridor team receives Silver Barrel for $500k recycling decision

Executive Director Carlos Braceras recently awarded the Mountain View Corridor project team, Cedar City and Granger-Hunter Improvement District with a Silver Barrel award for their partnering efforts in saving taxpayers $500,000. Award Recipients included:

  • Brad Paxman, Granger-Hunter Improvement District
  • Johnathon Stathis, Cedar City Water Dept.
  • Josh Vanjura – UDOT
  • Barney Mekkmellom, UDOT
  • Jessie Barton, MVC team member (Parsons Brinkerhoff)
  • Mayor Maile Wilson, Cedar City Mayor
  • Joe Kammerer, UDOT

MVC Silver Barrel

UDOT and Granger-Hunter Improvement District (GHID) worked together to relocate a 2 million gallon water tank to Cedar City that was moved to make way for the Mountain View Corridor (MVC). By recycling existing resources, UDOT, GHID and Cedar City saved taxpayers $500,000.

UDOT is currently preparing for the next phase of construction on the Mountain View Corridor from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City. The project needed to relocate an older steel water tank near 4300 South. The water tank held 2 million gallons of water that proved to be too small for the growing area. UDOT and GHID worked together to build a new 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future roadway.

Instead of disposing of the old water tank material, UDOT and GHD researched ways to re-use it. Cedar City was in need of a new water tank and contacted GHID. The water tank was dismantled and transported to its new location for reassembly.

This water tank in Cedar City was once in the Mountain View Corridor project path in Salt Lake County.

This water tank in Cedar City was once in the Mountain View Corridor project path in Salt Lake County.

“We are always looking for ways to create positive outcomes during the construction process,” said Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director. “This is a great example of government and utility companies working together to save taxpayer money.”

Mountain View Corridor consists of two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South. MVC will eventually be a 35-mile freeway from I-80 in Salt Lake to Lehi Main Street.

If you would like to learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview. To learn more about Granger-Hunter Improvement District, visit http://www.ghid.org/. To learn more about Cedar City, visit http://www.cedarcity.org/.

This post was written by Crystal McMillan, associate account manager on the MVC project team. 

Warm winter provides opportunity for maintenance work

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Eileen Barron, Region Three Communications Manager. You can follow the news from the region by following @UDOTRegion3. 

It’s something we can all relate to: that long list of things you’d like to do, if only you had time. The good news for UDOT’s maintenance crews is that the light snowfall and warm temperatures in January and February have allowed us to get a jump-start on our to-do list. UDOT’s crews in the six-county area of Region Three have performed more than half a million dollars of maintenance during the first eight weeks of 2015. Here’s a sample of what we’ve been up to:

Crack sealing: UDOT prolongs the life and quality of our pavement by sealing cracks with an asphalt sealant. Sealing cracks reduces the amount of moisture getting underneath the pavement that can damage the subsurface of the roadway. Crews have done more than $50,000 of crack sealing, including sections of Nephi Main Street, Redwood Road west of Utah Lake, Timpanogos Highway in Highland and SR-113 in Midway. Crews have also performed $50,000 in pot hole patching.

UDOT Crews perform a crack seal on a portion of SR-92 in Utah County.

UDOT crews perform a crack seal on a portion of SR-92 in Utah County.

Road sweeping and litter pick-up: UDOT has a regular schedule of sweeping roads and shoulders to remove debris. The mild winter has allowed crews to do some extra clean-up in terms of litter control and sweeping. More than $100,000 has been expended cleaning up Utah’s roads. Crews have also performed almost $10,000 in tree trimming.

Sign repair and replacement: Crews have replaced or repaired signs and sign posts throughout the region in locations such as I-15 in Utah County, US-40 north of Heber and near Duchesne as well as SR-32 south of Jordanelle Reservoir near Francis. We installed all new milepost signs on Pioneer Crossing in Lehi and Saratoga Springs and on SR-129 North County Boulevard in American Fork. Region-wide, the total spent on signs the first two months of 2015 is nearly $90,000.

Cable barrier, guardrail and fence repair: We have repaired or replaced cable barrier and guardrail in places like Provo Canyon and the Mayflower area of US-40. These repairs help maintain safety on the roadway. We have also repaired snow fencing on SR-92 and right of way fencing on I-15 between Springville and Lindon. These fences help the functionality of our roadways by minimizing blowing snow and keeping animals off the interstate. Fencing has also been repaired on US-6 in Spanish Fork Canyon and US-89 near Thistle. Attenuators that act as crash cushions and delineators that help mark driving lanes have also been replaced and repaired along several routes, including a stretch of US-40 near Strawberry Reservoir. More than $100,000 has been spent on repairs of these roadside features.

A truck passes by a cable barrier on the interstate.

A truck passes by a cable barrier on the interstate.

Cleaning out culverts and drains: UDOT crews have also been cleaning out culverts and drainage features in areas such as I-15 from Springville to Lindon, SR-132 in Salt Creek Canyon, SR-191 south of Duchesne and SR-87 north of Duchesne. This is a regular spring maintenance activity that we are able to initiate earlier this year due to mild temperatures. Drainage for water run-off is designed as part of our projects and maintenance crews make sure these drains and culverts are clear from debris so they function properly. Nearly $40,000 in drainage activities have been recorded in Region Three during January and February.

Our Orem crew cleans drains along a part of I-15.

Our Orem crew cleans drains along a part of I-15.

Accident response and repairs: UDOT crews are called upon to make repairs and clean-up the roadway after a crash. Activities may include repair of fence or barrier, signs and sweeping. These are often recoverable expenses for the department paid for by drivers’ insurance. More than $60,000 in accident repair has taken place in Region Three in 2015.

UDOT seeks public comment on Draft 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has prepared the Draft 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRP), and is requesting public comment on it.

The State of Utah has a 30-year plan in urban and rural areas. The LRP is what guides transportation system improvements on State and Federal highways in rural Utah. The plan provides an assessment of future area transportation needs, along with future transportation investment recommendations. It is developed in accordance with federal regulations and updated every four years.

UDOT Urban Planning Manager Walter Steinvorth said public input is essential on the LRP.

“Not only does it build stronger bridges between the Department and rural Utah, but it also gives residents a chance to identify projects that are important to them that could possibly get overlooked.” Steinvorth said.

Not only is the LRP important for people who live in rural Utah, but it also important for the public who vacation in the area, and for those who transport goods in and through the state. While UDOT welcomes public comment from all citizens, Steinvorth stressed the great need for those in under-represented parts of the population to let the department know of their concerns.

“We collect an awful lot of data. That data and analysis doesn’t always give us the full picture,” Steinvorth said.  “We need our citizens and users to help us find what is important to them in their community.”

The Draft 2040 LRP will be available for review at http://udot.utah.gov/go/lrp from March 1, 2015, through April 30, 2015. Comments may be directed to planning@utah.gov or submitted through the comment application at the listed website.

Vote UDOT for a National Social Media Award

UDOT has been nominated in three categories for the Golden Post Awards, and we need your help voting online here!

Final nominees for the Golden Post Awards — the first awards program for state and local government social media efforts in the U.S. — will be chosen based on the public’s votes, comments, and a review of the Government Social Media Conference Awards team. UDOT is nominated for “Best Social Media Campaign”, “Social Media for Citizen Engagement” and “Outstanding Social Media Results”.  All three nominations are for the department’s “Twist” ad, which debuted during Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014.

UDOT ran this thought-provoking ad to raise awareness about the danger an unbuckled passenger poses to others. The ad ran on television during Super Bowl XLVIII, and was met with some controversy. Initial social media responses indicated that some viewers were appalled by the hard-hitting commercial, especially with families and young children watching.

After the first 24 hours, the tone on social media had shifted as the majority recognized the ad was meant to spark awareness and conversation. Car crash victims and family members spoke out, applauding Zero Fatalities for talking about seat belt safety.

The campaign was successful because it got people talking, regardless of what side of the argument they were on.

  • “Twist” reached nearly half a million Utahns aged 18 to 49 who were watching the Super Bowl
  • Posts about “Twist” on just the Zero Fatalities Facebook page reached 148,032 people and featured 389 likes, 198 shares, 146 total comments
  • Within 24 hours after the ad aired, there were 1,385 positive comments and only 325 negative comments on all of the local media’s Facebook feeds (81 percent favorable, 19 percent negative)
  • In a survey conducted three months following the Super Bowl, 72 percent of all respondents said they were influenced by “Twist” to always wear a seat belt

Show your support for seat belts and the Zero Fatalities educational ad by voting at http://conference.governmentsocialmedia.com/golden-post-awards/voting/. The deadline to vote is Friday, March 6 (by midnight PST) and finalists will be named March 12. Winners will be announced on April 30 at #GSMCON.

Be sure to check out all 9 categories, as there are other Utah government accounts competing as well!