Category Archives: Optimize Mobility

Improvements in Layton resume with traffic shift, bridge demolition

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.

Traffic Shift

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.

HillBridge_Phase1_V2

HillBridge_Phase2

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.

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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.

Bridge Demolition

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.

What to expect when it’s completed

Once the project is completed in Fall 2016, congestion in the area will be reduced by five minutes, thanks to:

  • Four ThrU Turn intersections (already completed)
  • Three additional lanes on Hill Field Road
  • Wider bridges on I-15 over Hill Field Road
  • 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.

For more information, call the Layton Improved team at (801) 904-4064, e-mail laytonimproved@utah.gov, or visit www.udot.utah.gov/LaytonImproved

HillField_BridgeClosure_Detour_V2

Local Eagle Scout supports IMT Teddy Bear program

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.

Jeff Reynolds, the Roadway Safety Manager and first responder from the IMT department, told Clark stories of the happiness, joy and calming effect he sees firsthand when the stuffed animals are given to children after an incident on the highway.

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: somebody, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, ___ and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution

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.

UDOT Advises Bowl Game Travelers to Plan Ahead for Out-of-State Delays

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.

121615 Virgin River Gorge.jpg
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.

121615 NVroads

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.

121615 IdahoITD

More information about these projects is available online at the following websites:

The Departments can also be contacted on social media:

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.

Incident Management adds softness to gritty job

A new friendly face is riding along on Utah’s highways with the UDOT Incident Management Team drivers: A soft, warm, fuzzy face of a teddy bear.

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.

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.

 

IMT Bear 1

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.

Vote Early, Vote Often for Brigham City DDI in Transportation Awards Competition

BRIGHAM CITY — UDOT’s 1100 South/U.S. 91 DDI project in Brigham City has been selected as a Top 10 finalist in America’s Transportation Awards, sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

The northern Utah project is competing against projects from eight other states to win first place in the competition, which includes a cash prize that will be donated to a deserving charity in Utah.

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

An aerial shot of the project. White substance is geofoam

“This Top 10 project is one more example of why UDOT has a reputation for being a national leader in quality and innovation,” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras. “I extend my congratulations to everyone who is associated with the project.”

Braceras suggested that anyone who would like to support the Brigham City project in the competition for best transportation project in the United States can participate in the voting for America’s Transportation Awards. “You can vote as many as 10 times per day per email address,” Braceras said.

Voting is currently underway online for the People’s Choice Award in the America’s Transportation Awards competition. To vote, go to http://nominate.americastransportationawards.org/Voting.aspx.

Voting will continue through Sept. 11.

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped "float the DDI" on geotechnically difficult terrain

A worker helps place geofoam, which helped “float the DDI” on geotechnically difficult terrain

The UDOT project is among 10 finalists in the competition. It is competing against projects from Florida, Kentucky, Indiana, Texas, North Dakota, New Mexico, South Carolina and Montana.

The Brigham City project qualifies in two top categories. One is the National Grand Prize, honoring the nation’s top transportation project as determined by a panel of industry experts and professionals. The other is the People’s Choice Award, which is voted on by the public through online balloting. The winner in each category receives a $10,000 donation to a charity or scholarship fund.

In order to be selected as a Top 10 project, it first had to be selected as a regional winner. The project won in the “Under Budget” category for an innovative design that could have cost as much as $100 million, but through out-of-the-box engineering and sensitivity to geological issues around the area, cost only $14 million.

With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the flow of the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.

The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow.  The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur.  This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps, and frequent crashes when they did.  Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.

UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive.  Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable.  Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks.  Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets.

The answer: innovate.  Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils.  Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months.  Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.

The result of all this innovation was an efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The first car goes through the Brigham DDI.

The America’s Transportation Awards competition is co-sponsored by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

Gov Herbert says updated Walking School Bus app is a SNAP

On Thursday morning, August 13, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert put on his sneakers and joined UDOT’s Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP) to walk to school with a group of Sugarhouse families. The short stroll was part of UDOT SNAP’s kick-off to celebrate the new-and-improved Walking School Bus mobile app.

While accompanying the students to school, Gov. Herbert praised UDOT SNAP for creating the free, forward-thinking app, which empowers parents to allow their children to walk and bike to school.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new "Walking School Bus" app

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert walks with school children in Sugarhouse to celebrate the new “Walking School Bus” app

“Walking and biking to school makes our neighborhoods safer, our air cleaner and our children healthier. It also helps to build a greater sense of community,” Gov. Herbert said. “I encourage all parents who live within walking distance of school to download the free UDOT Walking School Bus App, join or organize a walking group and start the school year off right by making walking and biking to and from school a habit.”

During the walk, Gov. Herbert also encouraged the young students to continue their studies.

Parents were interested to learn that the updated Walking School Bus app now included easy tutorials, a way to invite their friends via text and social media, and that the app appears to be more navigable. They also remarked on how important the safety features on the app are to them.

Kids like the app, too.

“I feel safe, and I like walking with my friends,” nine-year-old Alex Beasley said. “And it also saves gas because you’re not using your cars.

UDOT developed and launched the free app in August 2014 to help make walking and biking to school safer and easier. With the app, parents can create and join walking groups, send messages within the app to coordinate walks, and even notify other parents when students have arrived at school. In its first year, more than 500 walking school bus groups were created across the state, and parents and students using the app reduced 91,000 car trips and 37 million grams of CO2 emissions, walked 88,000 miles and burned 8.8 million calories.

The free Walking School Bus App is available for download for iPhone and Android devices. For more information, visit http://www.udot.utah.gov/walkingschoolbus.

MEDIA STORIES ON THIS EVENT:

Gov. Herbert backs UDOT’s ‘Walking School Bus’ AppABC News 4 Utah

UDOT aims to reduce pollution, increase child safety and exercise with ‘Walking School Bus’ appFox 13 News

Herbert, students trade wheels for sneakers on ‘walking school bus’ Deseret News

Reserve family gets walking with Utah governor – Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

UDOT Walking School Bus app aims to improve safety KSL5 News

Guv encourages Utah parents to ditch the school carpools in favor of walkingThe Salt Lake Tribune

Governor says kids should ditch carpools and walk to schoolThe Daily Herald

 

 

 

 

New Long-Range Plan released for rural roads

Projects planned over next 25 years will enhance Utah’s economy, quality of life

RICHFIELD —  The Utah Department of Transportation today released its long-range plan forecasting transportation needs in rural Utah over the next 25 years.

The department updates its long-range transportation plan every four years with an eye toward keeping traffic moving now and into the future. The plan focuses primarily on rural areas of the state and identifies a list of projects that will strengthen Utah’s economy and enhance the state’s quality of life.

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Transportation needs for Utah’s urban areas are developed in cooperation with metropolitan planning organizations like the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Mountainland Association of Governments. These long-range plans, along with UDOT’s Long-Range Plan, are combined to create Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, which will be published this fall.

“UDOT follows a fiscally responsible approach to maximize the value of Utah’s infrastructure investment,” said Jeff Harris, UDOT planning director. “The department leverages limited resources in a way that will provide the greatest benefit.”

Harris said the Long-Range Plan considers the unique needs and strengths of rural Utah, including tourism, the energy sector, interstate freight movement, access to recreation opportunities, and the need for enhanced connections between communities. It employs sophisticated travel demand modeling software to anticipate future transportation needs, taking into account projected population growth as well as employment data forecasts.

The plan also reflects the predicted quantity and timing of future funding, as well as public input accumulated during a series of public meetings focused on the draft project list last spring.

Projects listed in this plan include projects to widen roads, add new passing or climbing lanes, modify interchanges and make other needed improvements throughout the state. You can view the Long-Range Plan here http://www.udot.utah.gov/go/lrp.

MEDIA STORIES ON THIS EVENT:

Road projects revealed by UDOT for next 25 years – Taylor Hintz, Ogden Standard-Examiner

UDOT releases long range plan for rural roads” – ABC4Utah

 

A google doodle with a Utah link

Whether you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on green, the traffic signal is one invention that revolutionized the world. And because of that, Google has taken to honor the anniversary of the first installation with a “doodle”.

August 5, 2015's Google Doodle

August 5, 2015’s Google Doodle

On August 5, 1914, the first traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, on the corner of 59th and Euclid. With 20,000 cars being sold per month in 1914, and horse-drawn wagons, street cars, and carts still in play, city streets in America were woefully congested, and a need arose for traffic management. Police used to stand in the middle of intersections and wave their arms to control traffic, and just before the turn of the century, England tried a gas-lit stoplight, but they had a tendency to explode.

But what does that have to do with Utah?

One of the solutions to the traffic management problem came when Lester Wire — a Salt Lake City policeman — created a traffic light out of a hand-made wooden box that had red and green lights whose wires were attached to light wires above. Right in the Beehive State, a solution was born. 

This replica of Lester Wire's first traffic light greets visitors to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.

This replica of Lester Wire’s first traffic light greets visitors to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.

We’ve come a long way since 1914, and UDOT is proud of what our employees at the Traffic Operations Center have done to create a state-of-the-art traffic management system. Instead of mechanical lights and wooden boxes, we use sophisticated computers that gather traffic and weather data to manage 60% of the 1,927 traffic lights statewide. We use that information to give you the best data, sent right to your smart phone, and we also have one of the few in-house DOT weather rooms, staffed with two full-time meteorologists and 8 weather professionals.

Next time you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on a green light, you can thank a fellow Utahn for coming up with a traffic solution. Thank you, Google, for giving us a chance to walk down memory lane!

Mountain View Corridor celebrates partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas

The Utah Department of Transportation’s Mountain View Corridor (MVC) project celebrated an innovative partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas on Tuesday, June 16. Representatives from the utility companies, team members from MVC and UDOT management were in attendance. Remarks were given by Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director; Sharon Seppi; Rocky Mountain Power; Bob Checketts, Kern River Gas; and Shane Marshall, UDOT Deputy Director.

MVC Partnership Meeting 16 June 2015 (5)

UDOT, Kern River and Rocky Mountain Power have been on working on relocating utility lines in preparation for construction to begin on the new roadway from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City, in the Spring of 2016. This included installing 5 miles of 36” diameter natural gas pipelines, 52 transmission line poles (345kv and 138kv).

Since the project began, there were few that imagined such extensive utility work could be completed and coordinated so seamlessly. However, this partnering celebration took place because of the excellent cooperation of all parties involved.

“This is a model for how transportation agencies like UDOT and utility companies can work together,” said Checketts, Vice President of Operations at Kern River Gas. He further explained that this partnership has now set the precedent for how Kern River is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) on another project.

A pin was created in commemoration and was given to all participants symbolizing the partnership between Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas with UDOT.

061615 MVC pin

Mountain View Corridor currently has two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South and will eventually extend to S.R. 201 in Salt Lake County.

To learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview.

This guest post was written by the Mountain View Corridor Public Involvement team. 

UDOT projects honored at WASHTO meeting

State projects win in “Quality of Life”, “Under Budget” categories

BOISE, Idaho — Dedication and understanding of the impact state-controlled roads have on motorists in Utah was recognized today, as UDOT projects in Southern Utah and Northern Utah garnered two regional awards in the 2015 America’s Transportation Awards competition.

The announcement today was made at the 2015 Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (WASHTO) annual meeting. UDOT projects were among eight that won in each of the competition’s three categories: Best Use of Innovation, Under Budget, and Quality of Life/Community Development.

UDOT’s Bluff Street at Southern Hills Parkway Interchange was recognized in the Quality of Life/Community Development category, which recognizes “a transportation project that has contributed to the general quality of life and economic development of local communities. These innovative projects better connect people to businesses, jobs, health care facilities, and recreational activities while encouraging a mix of transportation modes. ” With comfortable weather and access to many outdoor activities and destinations, the largest city in Region Four provides so much of what St. George and Washington County residents who value quality of life are looking for.

So many new residents have come to the area seeking this quality of life that existing transportation infrastructure has been over-taxed. Nearly 43,000 cars travel along Bluff Street (SR-18) each day, and another 13,700 go through Red Hills Parkway. The clash of rural vs. urban can best be seen here, where a state highway suddenly becomes a city road where many cyclists and runners converge to get to and around the natural preserve. It’s the meeting point four multi-use trail systems, and is included in the course of many major sporting events in the area. All of this activity in a traditionally constructed intersection places residents and visitors at risk.

This was how the intersection looked before the project

This was how the intersection looked before the project

In order to accommodate the current population as well as the expected growth through 2030, UDOT, the City of St. George and the Southern Utah Bike Alliance (SUBA) collaborated to reconfigure the intersection by creating a center exit interchange.

The center exit interchange creates a safer section of road, while also maintaining a steady flow of traffic. Highway travelers can continue on their way on the outside lanes, while those needing local access take the inside lanes to an intersection that allows east-west travel.

The construction team saved $4 million in construction costs by utilizing the natural topography of the area and building the project within natural grades.

The project after it was finished. Note the center offramp and bike trails

The project after it was finished. Note the center offramp and bike trails

The project also integrated bike/pedestrian paths into the design, with box culverts under SR-18 allowing for safer multimodal transportation under busy roadways, thus connecting the community in a safe, efficient and positive way.

“UDOT should be commended for their positive design process that encourages outside voices and ideas,” said Craig Shanklin, SUBA President. “This was a great example of how the community can be involved in the design process and lead to a better outcome for all users.”

The Diverging Diamond Interchange at Brigham City’s US-91/1100 South location was honored in the “Under Budget” category. That category honors “a project demonstrating transportation efficiency while promoting economic and fiscal responsibility. The award recognizes a successful project brought in under budget that provided the greatest cost savings to the state(s) while offering maximum performance.”

How do you move a steadily increasing traffic flow through an aging, small interchange at the connection of US-91 and Interstate 15, near the northern Utah city of Brigham City?  With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.

The new DDI at Brigham City on the day it opened.

The new DDI at Brigham City on the day it opened.

The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow.  The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur.  This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps – and frequent crashes when they did.  Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.

UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive.  Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable.  Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks.  Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets at the time.

The answer: innovate.  Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils.  Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months.  Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.

The white blocks are geofoam, which was used to construct the DDI in a environmentally- and structurally- sound way

The white blocks are geofoam, which was used to construct the DDI in a environmentally- and structurally- sound way

The result? An efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.

“What UDOT and the project team eventually chose to do was not only innovative, but a brilliant solution to an extremely difficult situation with many built-in constrictions,” said Bradley Humpherys, a Senior Transportation Project Manager for Stanley Consultants.

Utah’s two projects — along with projects in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas — will compete against projects from other regions in the U.S. for a National Grand Prize, the People’s Choice Award and $10,000 prizes to be given by the winners to a transportation-related charity or scholarship program.

The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.

“These projects are a small sampling of the many ways in which state DOTs are improving peoples’ quality of life and providing for a vibrant economy,” said John Cox, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President and Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.

The America’s Transportation Awards – co-sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the US Chamber of Commerce – annually recognizes the best of America’s transportation projects in four regional competitions.  Learn more about the projects and the competition at: AmericasTransportationAwards.org