Category Archives: Preserve Infrastructure

How GIS Improves Data Quality

Quality Data

Screenshot of UPlan

Screenshot of UPlan Map Center

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.

Making decisions

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.

I-215 Reconstruction Ranks No. 1 on UDOT’s 2016 Top 10 Projects list

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.

 

Moving to an intelligent design environment

UDOT’s intelligent design effort includes moving to an all 3D work flow – a revolutionary change in the way state departments of transportation do business.

UDOT is leading the nation in important innovations which will save time, reduce mistakes, and conserve public funding.

3-D models allow every aspect of a road construction project to be viewed from any angle. State DOTs produce 3D design models that are then converted to 2D paper plan-sets to be advertised and delivered to the construction contractor. Plan sets are stacks of paper diagrams that illustrate each aspect of the project, such as pavement layers, drainage structures like pipes and culverts, underground geotechnical features, etc. The plan set production process is 60 to 70 percent of a UDOT designer’s time during pre-construction.

Often, contractors need to re-create a 3D model to build the project. By providing the contractor with a 3D model instead, UDOT will save an estimated 60,000 hours a year, the contractor won’t need to re-create the 3D model, and bid prices will likely be lower.

Other advantages of an all 3D workflow include

  • A more accurate view of project features
  • A more efficient use of technology during construction
  • Better communication between designers and contractors
  • Greater accuracy estimating quantities of materials for building the roadway
  • Elimination and mitigation of errors during design and construction
  • A higher-quality construction product
An image of a 3D road design

An image of a 3D road design

Automated Machine Guidance on I-80 shows important benefits

Automated Machine Guidance (AMG) allows contractors to use 3D models to program heavy equipment, like excavators and pavers, to work automatically. Most contractors use AMG.

UDOT recently realized some important benefits by providing the 3D model to the contractor on the I-80 Silver Creek to Wanship paving project. Coring tests after paving showed two deficient pavement cores versus eight deficient cores compared to non-AMG pavement. AMG also resulted in fewer ‘must-grind’ corrections. These advantages add up to longer pavement life.

In 2016, Region Two will advertise the I-215 resurfacing project using the 3D model for information only. Providing this model will save the contractor from having to create a 3D model from scratch, may allow for better bid pricing, provide the construction crews with the ability to check final grade with a GPS unit, and help locate underground utilities.

An AMG concrete paver on the I-80 Silver Creek to Wanship project

An AMG concrete paver on the I-80 Silver Creek to Wanship project

Future vision

Eventually, UDOT would like the contractor to return post-construction 3D ‘as-built’ files which show how the project was ultimately built. With 3D files in hand, UDOT designers will have a much easier task when future work is necessary.

Formidable Phragmites

UDOT Region One is using a GIS app to help control an invasive weed that makes Utah wetlands inhospitable to native plants and waterfowl.

When phragmites get a foothold, it crowds out native plants like cattail, bulrush, and saltgrass – native species that provide food sources and cover for birds. Randy Berger, Wetland Manager with Utah Department of Natural Resources doesn’t have a single good thing to say about the weed. Berger manages wetland areas in northern Utah.

Phragmites in Northern Utah

Phragmites in Northern Utah. Photo by Lindsey Durtschi

UDOT manages the area beyond the pavement within the right-of-way, which involves regular mowing and getting rid of invasive weeds, including phragmites. UDOT Region One Area Supervisor Kelly Andrew, along with maintenance crews, has been using a GIS app that tracks the location of phragmites. He and Berger have been working together to fight weeds for years.

Andrew needed a way to keep track of the location of big patches of phragmites. Getting rid of the stuff is a three-year endeavor, and locating, spraying and tracking the spread of phragmites is time consuming. The new weed spraying app, in its second year of use, has made UDOT’s weed abatement effort more effective and efficient.

Kelly Andrew of Region One

UDOT Region One area supervisor Kelly Andrew

The app was developed by Seth Anderson of AECOM. He modified the ArcGIS collector app to create the easy-to-use tool. The app works on a smartphone or a tablet. Users simply choose the weed on a pick list, add comments, and create a point on an online map.

“The app automatically stores the date and username when the point is created,” says Anderson. “The Collector app allows for collecting and editing points even when the device does not have a data connection, too.  He just has to sync the data when he gets back to his office and has Wi-Fi connection.” Andrew introduced the app to Berger, who is now using the app to track phragmites treatment areas.

GIS mapping apps are a simple and effective way to collect and track and store data. Andrew recommends others at UDOT consider using an app. “If you think you have a problem that can be solved with a GIS tool, don’t hesitate to ask.”

Weed Sprayer Rig

For more information, contact the GIS team at udotgis@utah.gov

For more posts about putting GIS to work, see the following links:

Getting it Right

GIS Apps to Improve Safety

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.

Maintenance crew awarded Silver Barrel for saving Cottonwood Canyon homes

Crews from the Cottonwood Maintenance Shed 2433 and members from the South Valley Maintenance Shed 2427 are being awarded a Silver Barrel for going above and beyond the call of duty to save homes and and roadways after a landslide in Little Cottonwood Canyon in May.

233 Landslide 01

After finding out that an embankment was starting to slide toward homes near Alta, the crew surveyed the problem and came back quickly to address it. Working in driving rain and extreme weather conditions, the crew took three days to remove mud, rock and debris  to keep it from sliding into homes and onto the road. The crew also spoke with concerned homeowners and caretakers about what they were doing to save the homes, and helped everyone feel comfortable, even during the trying circumstances.

“[The crew] worked hard in extreme conditions, and they never complained once,” said Jake Brown, the Cottonwood Station supervisor. “They really made it happen with a good attitude even with longer shifts.”

Ultimately, they were able to stabilize the hill and install a barrier so no further damage would occur.

233 Landslide 03

“The crew made a quick response and resolution to a possibly serious situation. UDOT was very approachable and willing to communicate with all parties involved,” said Frank Perkins of Canyon Services, a property management company in Alta. “It’s a real treat to have the open communication with UDOT in dealing with problems in Little Cottonwood Canyon.”

Executive Director Carlos Braceras was present to give the Silver Barrels to crew members.

“These men are the face of UDOT for the public. No one knows what I do, or what your region director does. But they know what you do. And you carry a fine balance between keeping the canyon clean and safe while also maintaining the area’s other major roadways.” Braceras said.

081915 02 Carlos Awarding

The Silver Barrel Award started in 2012 by then-Executive Director John Njord. It is meant to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty to give exemplary service to the citizens and infrastructure of Utah. Much like college football players, who receive stickers to put on their helmets for a job well done on the field, UDOT employees who receive this award get Silver Barrel sticker for their hard hats, a pin, and a certificate.

081915 04 pin and sticker

The members receiving the Silver Barrel award are:

  • Jake Brown, Cottonwood Station Supervisor
  • Shawn Wright, Cottonwood Station
  • Keith Trott, Cottonwood Station
  • Michael Johnson, Cottonwood Station
  • Semi Tuiatua, Cottonwood Station
  • Tyler Connor, Cottonwood Station
  • Whitikei Lutui, Cottonwood Station
  • Sean Lewis, Cottonwood Station
  • Kirby Peacock, South Valley Station
  • Jared Thomas, South Valley Station
UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras and other Region Two leaders with the crews.

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.

DSCsr153b

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

 

Plan for weekend work in Davis and Salt Lake County

EDITOR’S NOTE: The closure of Legacy Parkway will not occur this weekend. It has been rescheduled for later in the month.  Because Legacy Highway work cannot be done on the Aug 7th weekend, there WILL be closures on I-15 southbound in the North Salt Lake Center Street area. Only three lanes will be available on Saturday, Aug 8. -NRN

Legacy Parkway weekend closure, I-15 lane restrictions scheduled to start Friday evening 

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for construction this weekend. Legacy Parkway is scheduled to close from Friday night to Monday morning for bridge maintenance. In addition, I-15 will be reduced to two lanes in both directions on Friday and Saturday night while workers reapply lane markings.

Legacy Parkway

Legacy Parkway is scheduled to close in both directions from I-15 to I-215 beginning tomorrow night as early as 7 p.m.The southbound lanes will close first, followed by the northbound lanes at 10 p.m. On Monday, Aug. 10, the southbound lanes are scheduled to reopen in time for the morning commute by 5 a.m., followed by the northbound lanes at 8 a.m.

During this closure, crews will be completing bridge maintenance at several locations along Legacy Parkway. Drivers traveling through Davis County should use I-15 as an alternate route. The closure of Legacy Parkway will not occur this weekend. It has been rescheduled for later in the month.  -NRN  

062915 Legacy Traffic

I-15 in Salt Lake County

Because Legacy Highway work cannot be done on the Aug 7th weekend, there WILL be closures on I-15 southbound in the North Salt Lake Center Street area. Only three lanes will be available starting 10 p.m. Friday, Aug 7. to Saturday, Aug 8. -NRN

Drivers should plan ahead for delays on I-15 in Salt Lake County on Friday and Saturday night. I-15 is scheduled to be reduced to two lanes in both directions from 4500 South to 10600 South from Friday, Aug. 7, at 11 p.m. to Saturday, Aug. 8, at 7 a.m., and again from Saturday, Aug. 8, at 11 p.m. to Sunday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. These lane closures will allow workers to reapply lane markings on the freeway.

During this time, freeway off- and on-ramps are scheduled to close intermittently as construction equipment passes. Crews will not be permitted to close consecutive exits, so drivers should proceed to the next exit if their desired ramp is closed.

traffic

I-215 from Taylorsville to Murray

Construction continues to repave the eastbound lanes of I-215 between Redwood Road in Taylorsville and 300 East in Murray. Eastbound I-215 is reduced to one lane each night beginning as early as 9 p.m., and is reduced to two lanes during daytime hours on Saturdays and Sundays. UDOT advises allowing extra travel time or using alternate routes during these times.

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For more information about these and other UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices.

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

State Transportation Commission tours UDOT projects in Summit County

PARK CITY — On Thursday, June 25,  the State Transportation Commission toured several areas in Summit County to see current and recent roadway improvement projects in the county.

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has been working with Summit County, Park City, and Snyderville Basin Parks, Trails and Recreation on improving transportation routes in the area.

“Summit County is a popular destination for recreation enthusiasts year-round,”  says UDOT Region Two Director Nathan Lee.  “Keeping the flow of motorists, cyclists, and wildlife moving through the county efficiently and safely is a top priority for us.”

The commission takes a tour of the recreation/wildlife underpass at US-40 in the Snyderville Basin.

The commission takes a tour of the recreation/wildlife underpass at US-40 in the Snyderville Basin.

In the past five years, UDOT has invested $102 million in roadway improvements in Summit County.  Some of those projects include:

-I-80 from Kimball Junction to SR 224 Study

This study looked at different scenarios to expand the capacity of SR 224 near Kimball Junction to accommodate future traffic and improve mobility.  Three recommendations were made, including a 7-lane section on SR 224, a continuous flow intersection at Olympic Parkway/Newpark Blvd., and a third left turn lane from northbound SR 224 to westbound I-80.  A final recommendation has not been chosen and funding for construction has not been secured.

-Wildlife Underpass Crossing at US 40

Completed in November 2014, this new underpass crossing provides recreational access and connectivity west of US 40 with the Frontage Road east of US 40.  The underpass also enhances safety for drivers and trail users, while at the same time reducing auto-wildlife crashes.

-SR 224 between Richardson Flat and Round Valley Drive

UDOT repaved and widened S.R. 248 to five lanes (two general purpose lanes in each direction with a two-way left turn lane) from Richardson Flat Road to Round Valley Drive. The project also included the installation of bike lanes from Wyatt Earp Way to Richardson Flat Road and intersection improvements at Richardson Flat Road and S.R. 248.  This project was completed in 2013.

The Commission stopped at S.R. 248, east of Comstock Drive to view a pedestrian tunnel near Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City.

The Commission stopped at S.R. 248, east of Comstock Drive, to view a pedestrian tunnel near Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City.

-SR 224 between Bear Hollow and I-80

UDOT completed a three-inch repaving on S.R. 224 from Bear Hollow to the I-80 interchange in July 2014.  The project also included new radar signal detection, pedestrian ramp upgrades and a shared shoulder for Park City Transit buses/ bikes on the east side.

Current projects under construction include the following:

-I-80 between Silver Creek and Wanship

This $43 million project replaces asphalt, upgrades drainage systems, and installs overhead variable message signs (VMS) to better communicate road conditions on Interstate 80 between Silver Creek and Wanship.  Construction began in December 2014 and is scheduled for completion in late 2015.

i-80 Bridge Demolition near Wanship We shared with you earlier about the construction going on near Wanship on I-80. Now, we’ve got a video to show how we teamed with Geneva Rock Products to take down the bridge.

Posted by Utah DOT on Wednesday, May 6, 2015

 

-Judd & Hobson Lane Bridges at I-80

This $2.7 million renovation project prolongs the life of the both the Judd and Hobson Lane bridges along Interstate 80 between Coalville and Hoytsville.  Originally built in 1967, the bridges provide connectivity and enhance safety for drivers.  Renovations began in June 2015 and are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015.

Upcoming projects in Summit County include the following:

-New westbound truck lane on Interstate 80 between Parley’s Summit and Jeremy Ranch

To improve mobility and enhance safety on Interstate 80, UDOT is designing a passing truck lane between Parley’s Summit and Jeremy Ranch.  The $17 million design project will begin in 2017.

-US 40 bridges near Jordanelle Reservoir

This $4.2 million project will preserve seven bridges near the Jordanelle Reservoir, which are frequently used by motorists visiting the area for recreation.  The bridges were originally built over 20 years ago. Bridge preservation work begins in 2016.

For a complete list of current and future projects in Summit County, visit the UDOT Projects page.

This guest post was written by Region Two Communications Manager Agustin Avalos.