Friday night – before the snow really started to fly – UDOT crews placed beams for the new southbound bridge on I-215 over SR-201. A total of 16 individual beams were placed – each one weighing almost 22 tons, and nearly 115 feet long. UDOT closed the freeway during overnight hours, when fewer cars are on the road, to keep traffic moving and reduce delays for drivers. The freeway closed at 9 p.m. and reopened before 5 a.m. – more than two hours ahead of schedule.
The I-215 bridges over SR-201 are being rebuilt as part of the I-215 west belt reconstruction. The project is moving forward during winter months, with activities such as concrete paving and barrier installation continuing as weather permits. Crews are also working to install sign foundations and traffic management system equipment. Construction on the project is on track for completion this fall.
The task of striping Utah’s roads is one that UDOT is continually looking to improve and presents several unique challenges. We are leading the way in many aspects compared to like states around us, but there is ground to be made.
In order to make our striping reflective we use round glass beads embedded in paint and other binders as shown below. The light is reflected back to the driver’s eyes.
The visibility of the reflectivity is reduced, in the winter, by the accumulation of salt and dirt on the road. We rely on the spring rains to wash off the salt and dirt. It is also reduced, of course, by rain and snow.
The durability of our striping is impacted by plowing and traffic. We need to have a product that will withstand the winter plowing, and last throughout the rest of the year. In the past few years we have started recessing more of our striping below the road surface to help it last longer, however even this solution can be problematic during plowing, as dirt, snow and ice can fill recessed areas making the paint hard to see.
Striping is weather dependent. It can only be applied when the temperature is 50 deg. F minimum and when the road surface is dry. In the urban areas, it is also traffic dependent. It is done during off-peak hours, usually at night, when traffic volumes are at a minimum.
Utah is divided into 6 striping districts. Each district has a full-time crew that stripes continuously during the warm months. Each district’s goal is to paint every road, every year. They also have the ability to hire a contractor to help out with their work when they can’t get to all roads because of weather or equipment malfunctions.
Striping is also installed by contractors on our road reconstruction projects.
We are continually working on a better solution to improving the visibility of our lines in wet weather. We have tried several approaches including a different mix of beads and paint, recessed reflective material and wider stripes.
Utah DOT’s Weather Operations Program Celebrates its 15th Year
The UDOT Weather Operations Program is celebrating its 15th year of managing weather events throughout the state of Utah. Beginning officially with the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Weather Operations program has reached many milestones over the years. Nearly 20 years ago, UDOT’s first contract meteorologist began with forecasts for a small section of the state. Today, UDOT employs a full time UDOT Weather Operations Manager, 8-12 meteorologists and a UDOT weather research analyst.
Figure 1A UDOT RWIS deployment.
So, how has the program grown and changed over time?
UDOT meteorologists handle over 5,000 phone calls in a typical winter season. There is a significant amount of coordination with the National Weather Service and UDOT plow crews. Ahead of any major weather events, including winter storms, wind events and rain/floods, UDOT’s Weather Operations group will host a weather briefing, sharing critical and timely information. UDOT signals, traveler information, operations, Ports of Entry, Utah Highway Patrol, communications and other teams are all participants.
The UDOT Citizen Reporter program smartphone apps for iOS and Google Play were launched in October 2013 to allow motorists to report road and weather conditions to UDOT. The UDOT app was the first of its kind in the country! UDOT has received thousands of reports from citizens since the program launched and reminds all drivers to never use apps while driving.
Figure 2 The UDOT Citizen Reporter app is a free download for iPhone and Droid.
Figure 3 Sign up to be a UDOT Citizen Reporter.
A new feature to the UDOT Traffic app and website is the Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) of all UDOT plows during storms. A citizen can get, at a glance, an understanding of where all UDOT plows are currently working. This enhancement also allows UDOT to better track plow movements for possible equipment and material savings. Overall, this enhancement has been very well received by the public.
Figure 4UDOT plows at work during a winter storm.
UDOT launched a Winter Road Weather Index (WRWI) project a few years ago to monitor snow and ice removal. The next generation of the WRWI is here… in the form of winter weather performance metrics. UDOT’s Snow and Ice performance metrics dashboard has real-time statistics that are utilized by UDOT maintenance crews to determine how effective they were at maintaining good road conditions during a storm. Several metrics go into creating the measure, including the intensity of the storm, length of time the storm is ongoing, resources allocated to the maintenance shed covering the geographic area and field instrumentation on the RWIS units. The resulting information is utilized to measure storm performance, identify best practices and possibly re-allocate resources to better cover areas in need.
Figure 5UDOT’s Snow and Ice Performance Measure uses green, yellow and red data points to assess how maintenance crews responded to the storm.
UDOT is fortunate to have an incredible crew of plow drivers who are very dedicated to their jobs and to Keeping Utah Moving. But there’s always room for improvement and sometimes opportunities for efficiency and resource allocation. In order to track performance and possibilities for improvement, the snow and ice performance metric takes into consideration several baseline data points including snow fall rate, time of day and shed resources.
Figure 6The UDOT Snow and Ice Performance measure graphic is available for each storm, allowing management to view an assessment and determine of additional resources are needed.
The graphic colors represented here show that UDOT’s crews managed the storm well but have some areas for improvement. The green data points show that when all factors are considered, the plow crews are exceeding expectations and are doing a great job keeping up with the storm and keeping the road well maintained. The yellow data points show that crews are performing within current capabilities for equipment and manpower. The red data points are highlighting areas for improvement where crews are not performing up to UDOT’s standards. Because the data comes to UDOT in real-time, a shed foreman has the ability to review the information at the end of the storm, end of the month or end of the season!
Under the red, yellow and green data point graph, the plow icon shows the movement of plows over the course of the storm.
Figure 7The Snow and Ice Performance metric includes details about the storm, including pavement temperature, storm intensity and precipitation type.
The archived snow and ice removal performance metric data includes atmospheric conditions, air temperature, pavement temperature, precipitation type and other meteorological factors that can help to determine the intensity
Figure 8UDOT Traffic camera screenshots are archived with each storm’s metrics to provide a visual description of the storm.
of the storm. UDOT Traffic camera screenshots are also included to give a data user a visual of the road during the storm. All of this information comes together to give shed crews and UDOT leadership an idea of how resources are being utilized and where there are areas for improvement.
UDOT is ready for the winter season and we hope you are, too. Now would be a good time to check the condition of your tires and ensure you have an emergency kit in your trunk. Please remember: always buckle up and never drive distracted. Check the UDOT Traffic app or website before every trip.
The barrels are gone, all lanes are open, and The Point project on I-15 is now officially complete.
This two-year, $215 million project widened I-15 to six lanes in each direction between 12300 South in Draper and S.R. 92 in Lehi, a distance of approximately seven miles. The project also replaced the existing pavement with new 40-year concrete, reconstructed the 14600 South interchange as a single-point urban interchange to improve traffic flow, and installed new traffic management technology such as cameras, ramp meters, electronic message signs, and fiber optics.
This section of I-15 is the principal transportation link between Salt Lake and Utah counties. More than 160,000 cars travel through this area each day, including nearly 37,000 trucks. Maintaining I-15 in top condition, and expanding the freeway to meet Utah’s transportation needs, will help Utah’s economy continue to grow.
“Keeping traffic moving on this critical economic lifeline running through the heart of our state was a huge undertaking, and our crews stepped up to the challenge,” UDOT Project Director Tim Rose said.
With the completion of The Point project, nearly all of I-15 along the Wasatch Front has been reconstructed within the past two decades. One last section – in Lehi, from S.R. 92 to Main Street – remains, and is programmed to begin construction in 2020.
State routes and associated features, like mile markers, structures, and even fiber optic cable, can be represented by geo-located points or lines. The UPlan Map Center provides a way to put data sets on a map, which makes the location of projects and features easy to find. A map can highlight errors and aid quality control. GIS also helps facilitate feedback from decision makers and the public by connecting data owners with data users to.
While putting data on a map sounds simple, “going from a non-visual data environment to a visual one is a complete transformative game-changer,” explains Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Inventory Control (OAC) Manager. For decades, the Department’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program struggled to consistently and quickly identify which routes in the state required billboard control and to pinpoint the exact location of permitted billboards on those routes. Records for the program were kept in individual online or hard copy files which had written descriptions of billboard locations.
UDOT recently combined all route and billboard data into the Outdoor Advertising Control Map. GIS has vastly improved the OAC program’s data quality. “GIS allows users to gain a visual understanding the geographic distribution of permitted billboards in the state. It quickly tells a story that cannot be told through endless spreadsheet rows. It has exponentially improved QC/QA activities, and it has revolutionized service delivery to a broad spectrum of stakeholders.”
A bridge too far
Putting GIS data on a map also highlights location errors. “It’s like shining a light on something that can otherwise get buried,” says Sarah Rigard, UDOT GIS Program Manager. When the UDOT Structures Division data was put on a map, some of the bridges showed up in the wrong location – one was in Nevada. “A slight typo in a lat-long coordinate will cause the point to be in the wrong location.” Checking for errors on a map can be easier and more effective than checking a spread sheet line by line.
The purpose of the annual Utah Transportation Commission Workshop is to develop funding strategies and identify upcoming projects for the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). UDOT’s GIS team supports the workshop by developing presentation materials such as PDF maps, tables, and storymaps on UPlan. Developing presentations has spurred discussion of what information from the Electronic Program Management (ePM) database is the most useful and helpful to convey, and how that information should be presented to provide a thorough representation of transportation needs.
GIS tools provide another way review data, which improves the quality. As a result, UDOT has better information for making decisions and better tools for presenting information to stakeholders.
Major projects will widen freeways, maintain highways and build new roads to keep Utah moving
Today we announced our Top 10 Projects list for the 2016 construction season. At the top of the list is the $105 million reconstruction of I-215 in western Salt Lake County, which is scheduled to begin in May and to be completed late next year.
More than 150 projects are scheduled this season statewide to improve mobility now and in the future. These construction projects are designed to enhance safety for drivers and pedestrians, improve the flow of traffic and keep Utah’s roads in good condition.
Three projects in this year’s Top 10 are in western Salt Lake County, an area that has seen tremendous population growth. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three western Salt Lake County cities are among the fastest growing municipalities in the state (South Jordan, West Jordan and Herriman).
The following are UDOT’s Top 10 Projects for 2016:
#1 I-215—300 East to S.R. 201, $105 million(Construction starts May 2016; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT’s top project this season will reconstruct the I-215 west belt with new concrete pavement from S.R. 201 to 4700 South. Crews will repave the westbound lanes with new asphalt from 300 East to Redwood Road. In addition, this project will widen the freeway to add auxiliary lanes from S.R. 201 to 4700 South, and will reconstruct the two bridges over S.R. 201. All four lanes will remain open in the peak travel direction during commute hours, but motorists should plan for delays and consider alternate routes such as Bangerter Highway and I-15.
#2 I-15—The Point Project, $252 million(Construction continues from last season; scheduled completion this fall)
Crews continue widening the freeway and placing new concrete pavement on I-15 from 12300 South to S.R. 92. Major construction this season will happen primarily between 12300 South and Bangerter Highway, with finish work taking place at the southern end of the project area from Bangerter Highway to S.R. 92.
#3 Mountain View Corridor—5400 South to 4100 South, $180 million (Construction started in March; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT is extending Mountain View Corridor farther north to 4100 South. This new construction will include two lanes in each direction, separated by a wide median (similar to the current open segment of Mountain View Corridor).
#4 I-15—Farr West to Brigham City, $52 million (Construction started in March; scheduled completion this fall)
Crews are widening a 13-mile section of I-15 to add a lane in each direction from 2700 North in Farr West to U.S. 91 in Brigham City. Most work is taking place in the freeway median, and traffic delays are expected to be minimal. This widening will improve traffic flow in the area.
#5 Bangerter Highway—600 West Interchange, $48 million(Construction starts this month; scheduled completion spring 2017)
UDOT is constructing a new freeway-style interchange on Bangerter Highway at approximately 600 West. This new interchange will enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion in the area near Bangerter Highway and I-15. UDOT is in the middle of a multi-year process to upgrade Bangerter Highway by replacing many of its existing intersections with interchanges, which will improve traffic flow.
#6 I-15—Hill Field Road Interchange and TTI, $28 million(Construction continues from last year; scheduled completion summer 2016)
UDOT is reconstructing the I-15 interchange at Hill Field Road, converting it to a single-point urban interchange to improve traffic flow and reduce delays in Layton. Last season, UDOT constructed new ThrU Turn Intersections on Hill Field Road on each side of I-15.
#7 I-15—St. George Blvd. to Green Springs Drive, $24 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion late 2016)
Crews are adding two lanes in each direction to I-15 in St. George and building new underpasses to connect Red Cliffs Drive with Red Hills Parkway near Mall Drive. These new lanes will help meet the needs of the growing population in the St. George area, and make it easier for drivers to enter and exit I-15.
#8 I-15—Riverdale to Farr West, $14 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT is repaving I-15 in Weber County from the I-84 junction to 2700 North in Farr West. This new pavement will prolong the life of the freeway and provide a smoother ride for drivers.
#9 U.S. 189—Deer Creek Widening, $13 million(Construction starts this month; scheduled completion summer 2016)
Crews are widening a six-mile segment of U.S. 189 near Deer Creek Reservoir to two lanes in each direction, plus a center turn lane. Currently, U.S. 189 consists of one travel lane in each direction in this area. Adding these lanes will reduce congestion and enhance safety, specifically for recreational travelers.
#10 U.S. 6—Repaving near I-70, $6 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion this fall)
UDOT is repaving a 10-mile section of U.S. 6 near the I-70 junction to improve the road condition for drivers and extend the life of the road surface.
Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For the latest information on traffic restrictions during construction, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app for iPhone or Android. Drivers can also follow UDOT on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
LAYTON — With Layton Improved construction resuming after a brief winter hiatus, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is advising motorists to be aware of traffic pattern changes in Layton around I-15 and the Hill Field Road interchange beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.
The Hill Field Road project will move forward with the demolition of existing interchange bridges and construction of a new single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Workers will also finalize improvements to Hill Field Road. Crews will be working 24 hours a day, six days a week, to finish the project as quickly, efficiently, and as safely as possible while maintaining traffic movement through the area. All traffic lanes will remain open on I-15, and speed limits will not be reduced through the construction zone. Please stay alert and use caution as you drive through the area.
Beginning Wednesday, construction crews will shift I-15 traffic in the area onto a detour bridge on the west side of the interstate. Southbound traffic will shift onto the detour bridge on Wednesday morning, Feb. 17. Northbound traffic will make the shift on Thursday morning, Feb. 18. The traffic shift will be in place in both directions through mid-April.
Left turns on the off-ramps will be closed from now through July 2016, so motorists will need to follow the detour signs to turn right and travel through the ThrU Turns.
Trucking companies that normally use Hill Field Road to access businesses west of Layton should plan to use the Layton Parkway Interchange (Exit 330) or Antelope Drive (Exit 332) to access those businesses and industries through July.
Following the traffic shift, the section of Hill Field Road underneath I-15 will be closed on the evenings of Feb 20-21 so crews can demolish both bridges. It is suggested that motorists pay particular attention to signage that day for detour routes. The new SPUI bridges are being constructed offsite and will be moved into place through UDOT’s innovative accelerated bridge construction process. The northbound part of the bridge will slide into place in early March, and traffic will switch onto the northbound bridge in mid-April. Crews will then complete the southbound bridge and will slide it into place in April.
A single-point urban interchange (SPUI) that will merge traffic at the off-ramps, controlled by one traffic signal.
Since the completion of the ThrU Turns, traffic flow has improved and delays reduced in the area. UDOT and Layton City are working together to tailor solutions that meet the city’s unique traffic challenges, and we’re excited to see the full project benefits realized when all the improvements are completed in fall 2016.
When Clark Fox decided to collect stuffed animals for his Eagle Project, he was totally surprised with the result. The high school junior from Riverton, Utah collected roughly 600 stuffed animals, which were then given to UDOT’s Incident Management Team, the Utah Highway Patrol, and various homeless shelters for distribution to children who find themselves in traumatic situations. He delivered the animals to the Traffic Operations Center in December and was thanked on behalf of the organizations that will receive the stuffed animals.
Clark and his family were then given a tour of the TOC by Wayne Jager to show all the areas that the TOC covers. Clark has a love of “robotics”, so maybe someday we’ll see Clark back at UDOT working on a drone project in the future.
L-R: Richard Shelley, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, Clark’s mom, and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution
This post was written by Richard Shelley of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
Heavy traffic, construction projects expected this weekend on I-15 and I-84
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises travelers driving to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this weekend to allow extra time due to heavy traffic and road construction in Arizona, Nevada and Idaho.
Las Vegas Bowl
Drivers traveling south on I-15 to Las Vegas should be aware of expected delays from 30 minutes to an hour on Friday evening, Dec. 18, and Saturday morning, Dec. 19, in the Virgin River Gorge between St. George and Mesquite, Nev. Drivers returning from the bowl game should plan for similar delays on Saturday night, and up to two-hour delays on Sunday morning, as I-15 is reduced to one lane in each direction for bridge construction in the Virgin River Gorge.
In addition, construction delays are expected along a 30-mile stretch of northbound I-15 between Las Vegas and Mesquite. The freeway is reduced to one northbound lane in various locations throughout this construction zone.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Fans planning travel on I-15 and I-84 to Boise should also plan ahead for construction in southern Idaho. I-84 is reduced to one lane in each direction for approximately 11 miles between the I-86 junction and Burley. Crews are replacing two bridges over the Snake River.
More information about these projects is available online at the following websites:
For information on UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices. For real-time traffic and road information outside of the state, there are several smart phone applications available for download, including the Waze navigation app.
The teddy bear is part of a new program focused on helping those with young children cope in the face of accidents. IMT drivers are now carrying teddy bears to give away to those affected by a crash, especially since it can be a frightening experience for young children.
A mother holds her child and a new teddy bear while the IMT provides assistance.
“The Utah Highway Patrol started handing out teddy bears to young children that had been involved in an accident. It seemed to help the child take his or her mind off the accident and get them something to comfort them,” UDOT state IMT manager Jeff Reynolds said. “The Incident Management Team has adopted the same program, due to limited space in police cruisers. In its short time, we have seen a meaningful impact on those we have been able to help.”
Reynolds said a citizen donation program is being considered in the future. UDOT and the Department of Public Safety will have more news when it becomes available.
A variety of teddy bears and other plush animals await their ride with the Incident Management Team.
The first goal of the IMT team is to make sure those involved in an accident and working an accident scene are safe and then clear the roads for other drivers to prevent secondary crashes. You’ll find them helping to change a tire, putting warning signs up to protect officials at an accident scene, giving a gallon of gas to a stranded motorist, or cleaning up after an accident. After the crash scene is secure, they want to help those in the crash feel safe and get the drivers on their way.
Please remember to give IMT and Highway Patrol adequate room when you see them passing and slow down to decrease the possibility of a secondary accident.
This post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.