Category Archives: Optimize Mobility

Mountain View Corridor Project Update

Photo simulation of the future corridor between 5400 South and 4100 South.

Photo simulation of the future corridor between 5400 South and 4100 South.

Mountain View Corridor (MVC) currently runs 15 miles from 16000 South to 5400 South.

Funding and Schedule – Funding has been allocated to extend MVC from 5400 South to 4100 South. UDOT is using design-build construction for the next phase. A Request for Qualifications (RFQ) will be released in April 2015, followed by a Request for Proposals (RFP) and a contractor selection later in the year. Major construction is anticipated to start in 2016. Future funding is needed to extend MVC from 4100 South to SR-201.

Utility Work – UDOT continues to prepare for the next phase of construction for the Mountain View Corridor. Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River are relocating utility lines from 4700 South to 3500 South in preparation for future phases of MVC construction. Recently Rocky Mountain Power installed a 138 kV line from 5400 South to 4100 South. Crews are currently pouring the foundations for the rebar cage for a 345 kV line between 4100 South to 3500 South in the future MVC construction area.

Photo of rebar base for new powerline

Crews assemble a new power line in the MVC project area.

Water Tank – The MVC 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 Granger-Hunter Improvement District (GHD)
worked together to build a new, 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future MVC 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 UDOT. The water tank was dismantled and transported to its new location for reassembly, saving taxpayers approximately $500,000.

Hillside Elementary and Future ROW – As part of the property acquisition process on MVC, the project team worked with Hillside Elementary to rebuild their playground. The newly construction playground is now complete.

UDOT is continuing to acquire properties in the future construction area. If you would like to learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview.

This guest post was originally published in the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

Unified Police and Fire Conduct SWAT and Training Exercises at Homes Slated for Demolition

Photo of emergency responders outside abandoned houseOn Tuesday, July 8, 2014, the Unified Police and Fire Departments took advantage of a special offer and did what came naturally: knocked down doors, set off smoke grenades and shattered windows.

UDOT Region Two’s Bangerter & Redwood Road Interchange Improvement Project invited both the Unified Police and Fire Departments to conduct SWAT and rescue response exercises at vacant homes scheduled for demolition. The vacant homes allowed for Unified Police and Fire to create real-life scenarios and practice response methods in the event of an emergency.

More than 60 individuals participated in these training exercises. Decked out in full gear in 90-degree heat, Unified Police engaged in tactical training while Unified Fire simulated rescue efforts for individuals trapped in a home during a fire.

Photo of SWAT outside abandoned home“We recognized an opportunity to partner with Unified Police and Fire in a unique way. They make a great contribution in keeping our communities safe and we were happy to be able to support that,” said Marwan Farah, UDOT Region Two Resident Engineer.

The vacant homes had been acquired by UDOT in order to accommodate road widening for the Bangerter & Redwood Road project. Region Two is constructing a grade-separated single-point urban interchange (SPUI) for the intersection at Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road. Construction will be complete in spring 2015.

This guest post was taken from the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

Raising Bangerter

Map of the temporary road

Crews have opened a new, temporary road that will move the majority of traffic out of the work zone and away from construction activities.

As part of a proactive effort to address immediate and long-term traffic needs, we are currently constructing improvements at Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road. This $42 million project includes a grade-separated single point urban interchange (SPUI) similar to the interchange of 7800 South and Bangerter Highway.

“We’re excited for the arrival of an interchange in this location,” said UDOT Region Two District Engineer Troy Peterson. “The communities located in the south valley of Salt Lake County continue to grow at an accelerated pace and these improvements are part of a long-range plan to accommodate immediate and future traffic demands. We will also increase mobility and improve safety for those commuting through the area by reducing conflict points.”

Schedule – Since the project received funding in September 2013, we have operated on an accelerated time table. The environmental study was conducted in fall 2013, Wadsworth Brothers Construction was selected as the contractor in April 2014 and construction began shortly after in June. The project will be complete in spring 2015.

The aggressive schedule has become the cornerstone for the project and has fostered an innovative approach. Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road are vital commuter routes and serve a large residential population with an emerging commercial area.

According to Resident Engineer Marwan Farah, “We have many stakeholder groups who will be impacted by construction activities and because of this we placed a high value on building the new freeway-style interchange as efficiently as possible. The project has many challenges to overcome, but we are finding ways to stick to our goals and meet milestones within the allotted timeframe.”

Innovation – In order to complete construction by spring 2015, innovative steps are being implemented. Perhaps the most unique approach is the introduction of a new, temporary road located at 13920 South (also known as Market View Drive) about a half block south of the Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road intersection. 13920 South was an access road to The Bluffs Apartments, which has been expanded to provide a direct east-west connection between Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road. During construction, many of the intersection’s turn movements have been relocated to the new, temporary road and Bangerter Highway’s through traffic has been shifted to the outside lanes. This allows the contractor to build the grade-separated overpass and accompanying tie-ins quicker because the majority of traffic is removed from the work zone.

As part of the new, temporary road, a temporary continuous flow intersection (CFI) has been constructed on Bangerter Highway, which will be in place until project completion. The temporary CFI has a traffic signal and dedicated turn lanes at Bangerter Highway, which provide direct access to the temporary road.

Another innovation that was implemented is the introduction of the Lump Sum Relocation Program, which allowed for residents of properties being purchased for the project to receive relocation monetary benefits in one payment. This program for Right-of-Way relocation was piloted on Bangerter Highway and Redwood Road to determine if it would assist in expediting the project’s relocation needs and overall schedule.

“We have been very happy with the Lump Sum Relocation Program on this project. Overall, it was productive, efficient, lowered costs and saved time,” said Farah.

Public Involvement – Even with innovation like the temporary road, not all impacts can be eliminated through construction. The project team is committed to completing the project with as little inconvenience to the public as possible. We have a robust public involvement approach to connect with drivers and stakeholders impacted by the project. Outreach efforts have included public meetings, mailer and flier distribution, media coverage, city presentations, in-person meetings and a dedicated project website, email and hotline. Our public involvement team has worked closely with the project team and contractor to understand the needs and benefits of the project and how best to communicate them to the public.

Both Bluffdale and Riverton cities have expressed deep appreciation for the planned improvements and the contribution it will make to their communities. They see this as a major step to continued development in the area. According to Riverton City Mayor Bill Applegarth, “This project is a significant improvement that will help increase efficiency and ease of travel for our growing population and people who commute through the southwest valley. UDOT’s preparation and communication regarding this project, as well as many others, has been extremely helpful.”

This guest post was originally published in the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

I-80 Crash Silver Barrel Awards

Executive Director Carlos Braceras awarded twelve Region Two employees with a Silver Barrel Award for their efforts related to a semi crash on I-80 that closed the road for several hours. Details of their efforts are below and the recipients included:

  • Shane Bushell
  • Rick Debban
  • Nick Jarrett
  • Robert Miles
  • Cody Moore
  • Stuart Ovard
  • Rick Potter
  • Bryant Richins
  • Jason Richins
  • Layne Thornton
  • Dottie Weese
  • Ron Williams

On July 16, 2014, Summit County Dispatch called Bryant Richins the Echo Station Supervisor around 5 a.m. and asked him to respond to a semi crash on I-80 westbound in Echo Canyon.

Due to the severity of this crash and with both semis on fire, I-80 was closed in both directions.

Bryant and his crew provided the traffic control and set up a left lane closure from the Echo Port of entry to the maintenance turnaround at milepost 183. This provided emergency vehicles a way to travel westbound if they needed to get past the crash scene.

I-80 eastbound was opened to one lane of traffic around 8 a.m. The crew was then asked for material to contain the water and hazardous runoff from fighting the fire. Two trucks from the Wanship Station hauled material up and contained the runoff.

The crew then started to assist in the clean up of the crash but the fireman in charge was concerned with the possibility of the loads flaring up. They discussed several possibilities and it was decided the UDOT crew would tip the loads over with their loader so they could get water on it to better extinguish the smoldering fire. This alone was estimated to save a couple of hours in the clean up of the accident.

The UDOT Echo Crew then worked with the tow company and firemen and offered to use their four UDOT ten wheel dump trucks and loader to haul the debris to the landfill. The Summit County Fire Department tried to cut up the burnt semis with their chop saws but it was taking too much time. Bryant offered to have his equipment operator go in with the loader and smash and roll up the debris and then load it in to UDOT’s ten wheelers. This saved an estimated four hours. Bryant then proposed his plan with the UDOT Area Supervisor and called Morgan Asphalt around 9 a.m. to notify them he would need their services in Echo Canyon to rotomill and repave the damaged/burnt asphalt. The crash debris was cleaned up and Morgan Asphalt was able to start rotomilling and paving around 2 p.m. The interstate was repaved and all lanes open to traffic by 5:45 p.m.

This is a great example of successful partnering with Utah Highway Patrol, Summit County Law Enforcement, Summit County Fire Department, Summit County Health Department, Moores Towing, the UDOT Incident Management Team, the UDOT Region Safety Manager, the UDOT Area Supervisor, UDOT Wanship Station 236, and UDOT Echo Station 238! Due to this successful partnering they were able to safely reopen Interstate I-80 and estimated 6 hours early.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Todd Richins, UDOT Region Two East Area Supervisor.

UDOT Signal Engineering Team receives Governor’s Award for Excellence

Photo of team members standing with Governor Herbert.

Team members with Governor Herbert. From left to right: Shane Marshall, Mark Taylor, Carrie Jacobson, Shane Johnson, Governor Herbert, Rob Clayton, Derek Lowe, Jamie Mackey, Peter Jager and Matt Luker.

For the last three years UDOT’s traffic signal management team has been focused on bringing innovative solutions to Utahns. The team was recently recognized by receiving the Governor’s Award for Excellence from Governor Gary Herbert.

The signal management team has been working on in-house solutions to better track and time traffic signals across the state. UDOT worked with the Indiana Department of Transportation and Purdue University to create software that provides real time traffic information to UDOT. The program was then developed by UDOT and the Department of Technology Services (DTS) and is a web based Automated Traffic Signal Performance Measurement System (SPMs).

SPMs are a series of visual aids that display high-resolution traffic data from vehicle sensors and traffic signal controllers (intersection computers changing the traffic signals) that help agencies effectively manage traffic signals in ways that improve mobility, increase safety, reduce vehicle emissions, preserve pavement infrastructure and use resources more effectively. In most cases on UDOT state roadways, SPMs are accomplished utilizing the same vehicle sensors already deployed at signalized intersections for normal day-to-day operations without the necessity of having to install expensive new equipment or sensors.

The sensors allow analysis of data collected 24-hours a day, 7-days a week (not just during business hours), and provide a clear framework for performance analysis and decision-making. The transportation community uses SPMs to directly measure what they previously could only estimate and model.

The use of the real time and accurate information helps traffic signal engineers make better decisions on signal timing and traffic patterns. Bangerter Highway is a good example of how accurate information helps move traffic. The SPMs were able to increase the amount of cars that reached the intersections at a green light by 19%. The information has also helped with moving large amounts of traffic during one time or recurring special events.

All of this information helps commuters stay on the move, saving them time and money. The cost for this program and the cost of a traffic signal change is very low compared to the amount of travel savings day by day.

In an effort to help traffic around the state UDOT has shared this technology with counties and cities so that they can better understand and monitor their traffic signals. UDOT hopes that the SPM’s will help them to get a more comprehensive idea of their traffic patterns and signal accordingly.

Mark Taylor a Traffic Signal Operations Engineer said “Innovations, creativity, risk and increased transparency are necessary to meet UDOT’s needs.  Automated performance traffic measures allows us to optimize mobility, increase safety and use resources more efficiently.”

UDOT’s goal is to continually refine the use of technology in traffic signals and timing in the future. They are always looking for ways to improve their efficiency and their ultimate goal of keeping Utah moving.

This guest post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.

Urban speed limits raised to Keep Utah Moving

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Department of Transportation crews canvassed the urban interstate across the Wasatch Front, replacing speed limit signs while officially changing the speed limit from 65 to 70 mph.

A new 70 mph speed limit sign waits to be installed.

A new 70 mph speed limit sign waits to be installed.

In an effort to optimize mobility and Keep Utah Moving, crews from UDOT Regions One, Two and Three spent all day on December 8th, changing out 99 signs from Spanish Fork to Ogden. In many instances, the crews simply placed a decal on the existing sign, but several of the older signs were replaced outright.

The speed limit increased on Interstates 15, 80 and 215. However, two sections of I-80 will remain at 65 mph, as engineering studies show the terrain doesn’t allow for a speed increase.

The choice to implement the new speed limits was based on several studies, and in response to last year’s legislation (H.B. 80).

Utah is not the first state to raise speed limits to 70 mph or faster. Nearly one-third of the United States has speed limits set at 70 mph or faster in urban areas, and more than two-thirds of states have increased them in rural areas.

UDOT workers change out speed limit signs on I-80 westbound

UDOT workers change out speed limit signs on I-80 westbound

 

Mountain Accord: Shaping the Future of the Central Wasatch

Photo of Wasatch MountainsMountain Accord is a public process initiated to gather input from local residents and stakeholders and make long-term decisions regarding the future of the central Wasatch Mountains. By using public input and previous research as a framework, the project team and active participants are evaluating four major topic areas and how they relate to each other in the central Wasatch region: transportation, environment, recreation and economy.

Mountain Accord is made up of more than 20 diverse organizations including local, state and federal government entities, members of the local business community and several non-profit organizations. Region Two Director Nathan Lee is representing UDOT on the Mountain Accord Executive Board that was formed to provide consensus-based oversight, solicit funding, resolve disputes, approve recommendations, and set the overall program direction and policy.

The Mountain Accord process consists of two principle phases. Phase one began in January 2014. Since then, small stakeholder working groups have been studying current and projected future conditions within the study area in Salt Lake, Summit, and Wasatch counties. The process is drawing from continuous public input, existing plans and studies, and collaboration among Mountain Accord’s participating agencies and key stakeholders.

Several Region Two officials participate in these working groups and are using this information to develop potential future scenarios for the central Wasatch Mountains and canyons that address transportation, environment, recreation and economic goals. These alternatives are scheduled to be open for public review and input in December, with public open houses scheduled for early January. Phase one will culminate in the selection of a preferred scenario and specific actions for each of the four areas of interest.

During Phase Two, the Mountain Accord project team will work through appropriate agencies and entities to implement these proposed actions. For more information about Mountain Accord and how you can get involved in this important process to shape the future of the central Wasatch, visit www.mountainaccord.com.

This guest post was originally published in the Region Two Fall 2014 Newsletter.

UDOT app wins award for digital pioneering

SALT LAKE CITY — The pioneering sprit has always been in Utah’s blood. From the Winchester rifle, Word Perfect and wider Pioneer Streets, to the Roadometer and Television, Utah has always tried to be at the forefront of technology.

In the digital age, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has continued as a technological pioneer, especially in the field of Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). It was recently awarded a “Best of ITS” award by the ITS World Congress this fall for its Citizen Reporter app, which was piloted during the 2012-2013 winter season.

Citizen Report Screenshot

A screenshot of the Citizen Report app

The app, which is the first of its kind in the United States, is aimed at Keeping Utah Moving, specifically during winter months. It allows citizen volunteers to report on road weather conditions along specific roadways across the Beehive State, after a short training session. These reports give enhanced road weather information to travelers when the stakes are the highest — during inclement weather. 

In large, sparsely populated states like Utah, state DOTs have trouble providing up-to-the-minute accuracy on road conditions to travelers. It’s especially tough in Utah, where nearly 1,000 cameras statewide still can’t see every inch of roadway. But that’s where crowd sourcing from citizen reporters comes in, providing more accurate and timely information to the traveling public on conditions around the state.

Lisa Miller, UDOT’s Traveler Information Manager, said the program was extremely successful, with over 1100 reports last year from approximately 500 reporters. She predicts four times the usage of the app this coming year.

“Our early concern was that the data might not be reliable,” Miller said. “But what we’ve found is that the incoming data is 99% accurate.”

Other states, such as Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska and North Dakota have requested information from UDOT to create similar programs in those states. The success of the program has spurred the department to produce another app, called Click N Fix, which allows the public to report potholes, burnt out highway lights, and other safety issues. The app will be more widely available to the public in early 2015.

The 2014 ITS World Congress

UDOT was awarded a “Best of ITS” award for “Best New Innovative Practice” in September.

“Crowd-sourcing is emerging as an effective means to both engage and serve the public, Miller said. “The public can now make more informed travel decisions, which impacts everything: safety, mobility, and the economy.”

To become a Citizen Reporter:

In order to become a UDOT Citizen Reporter, you will need to complete a brief training (either online or in person), take a short quiz and complete a sign-up form. The training takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Once a volunteer has completed these steps, they will be provided with a login and PIN, and can begin submitting reports. Reports are submitted through the UDOT Citizen Reporting app, downloadable for Android and Apple devices from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

If you would like to become a Citizen Reporter, please follow this link to take the online training: www.udottraffic.utah.gov/training/citizenreporter. For more information or to schedule an in person training, email UDOTCitizenReporter@utah.gov.

You can download the Citizen Reports app for your iPhone or Android device.

 

Innovative partnerships prove to be the perfect recipe for Patchwork Parkway

PANGUITCH — In a state where innovation is consistently used to Keep Utah Moving, sometimes innovation alone isn’t enough. Unique partnerships between state agencies can be the perfect additional ingredient to accomplish the improbable.

In rural southern Utah, where equipment and manpower are sometimes as few and far between as the towns in the region, innovation and partnering got a much-needed job done quickly and efficiently, while minimizing the use of taxpayer dollars.

Recently, UDOT’s shed 4469 in Panguitch teamed up with Bryce Canyon National Park to create a shoulder on a seven-mile stretch of Scenic Byway SR-143. This stretch of Utah’s “Patchwork Parkway” was in great need of a shoulder, because a simple task like plowing the road or pulling over created potential safety issues.

The project required tools neither the department nor the national park possessed alone. So to combat this issue, they came together to pool resources and manpower to finish the job in a few days, saving each agency valuable time and money.

“The stars just lined up,” said Panguitch Shed manager Robert Brown. “Down here, we’re all neighbors, and you have to get creative to help each other out and get things done.”

Normally, a similar project requires a team of at least six to eight workers, with three on a shouldering machine alone. But with only two full-time employees at the shed, Brown and his counterpart at Bryce Canyon had to think outside of the box. Here are some of the highlights:

• Bryce Canyon provided side delivery dump trucks that offered a more efficient use of asphalt. Standard machines provide four feet of material, even if only two feet are needed.
• UDOT’s grader was used to accomplish both the grading and compaction tasks, as the shoulder in the area is too steep to use conventional steel drum rollers.
• The asphalt used on the project was recycled and obtained from a pit in nearby Hatch, Utah at nearly one-third of the cost of new asphalt.
• The project was completed in two days, with two UDOT Panguitch Shed employees and two Bryce Canyon employees.
• A pull-behind broom hooked to a pickup truck cleaned the road with two passes.

For Brown, the lesson is simple: when government entities work and plan together, the result can be a win-win for both, as well as the surrounding communities.

“Without the shared resources, we wouldn’t have been able to do the job,” Brown said. “I think this shows that governments need to think outside of the box more to collaborate.”

THREE YEARS OF PLANNED PROJECTS

A new UPLAN gallery of web maps and apps, with information about upcoming projects, is now available through UPlan.

The gallery makes data on the UDOT Three Year Plan available to project managers, UDOT employees, policy makers and the general public. Projects are organized by program funding source, year and UDOT region. The gallery also has a web map of future planning through 2020.

The live data advantage

The online information can be referenced by employees across the department, or by UDOT and local governments to assure that all are viewing and using the correct information. The project data is updated nightly, so data is kept as current as possible.

Having dynamic, easily accessible information via the gallery enhances collaboration across UDOT divisions so projects can be synchronized to use resources effectively and reduce impact to the public. The gallery improves agency transparency since anyone with a web connection can use the gallery to view planned projects.

What is UDOT’s Three Year Plan?

Screen Shot of the Three Year Plan WebsiteThe projects in the Three Year Plan have been identified and prioritized by each of the four UDOT regions. The projects address UDOT’s three strategic goals, Zero Crashes, Injuries and Fatalities, Optimize Mobility, and Preserve Infrastructure.  Funding sources have also been identified for each project.

The main advantage for UDOT in having a three year program of road construction projects is coordination, says William Lawrence, Director of UDOT Program Finance. The plan lets the department evaluate the program as a whole and “helps maximize efficiency,” he says. For example, two projects in close proximity in American Fork, each planned for different years, were recently combined into one project that will take place in 2017. In this case, combining projects is a better use of financial resources, and “construction will only impact the public once,” says Lawrence.

To find the Three Year Plan gallery, access the UDOT Data Portal at data.utah.gov, click the UPLAN thumbnail, then click the 3-Year Plan thumbnail in UPLAN. Instructions for searching for or sorting projects are included in the gallery.