Category Archives: Preserve Infrastructure

I-80 Parley’s Canyon Drainage Improvement Project Wins Excellence in Concrete Award

Last summer’s Drainage Improvements project on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon was recently recognized with the Excellence in Concrete Award from the Intermountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute. The award recognized the team of UDOT, H.W. Lochner, W.W. Clyde and its subcontractors, and Geneva Pipe and Precast for designing, casting, and installing the new culvert adjacent to I-80. This drainage project, which was completed in fall 2013, installed more than 10,500 feet of 66-inch reinforced concrete pipe along a two-mile segment of I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Crews also installed 6,700 linear feet of median and lateral drains, along with 80 concrete box structures. The new drainage system, with a 100-year design life, replaces the original corrugated metal pipe that was installed prior to construction of I-80 in the 1960s.

As many of the pipe sections are fabricated with slight differences to accommodate elevation changes or curves in the two mile-long culvert, each section had to be placed in exactly the right spot. The pipe included beveled segments, where the spigot end of the pipe had a slight bevel to the left or right, as well as straight segments. These segments allowed the pipe to bend gradually to match the grade and curves of the roadway. To install each segment, an on-site surveyor took measurements to ensure both vertical and horizontal alignment.

Significant challenges faced by the project team included maintenance of traffic – 45,000 cars each day traveled through the work zone – and the solid rock of the canyon, which required blasting in several locations merely feet away from the edge of pavement. In total, 10 separate blasts were carried out, for a total of more than 2,200 linear feet. The project was completed under the $11.8M budget just in time to suit the unique weather and stream flow conditions in the canyon.

According to the ACI Intermountain Chapter, the ACI Excellence in Concrete Awards “recognizes the innovative and aesthetic uses of concrete by owners, architects, engineers, contractors and ready mix producers.” This award is the latest recognition of the combined efforts of UDOT and the contractor team to meet challenges and complete a quality project that will benefit Utahans for years to come.

Also check out this post about the project from last year: Parley’s Canyon Pipe Replacement.

UDOT RECEIVES NATIONAL AWARD FOR ITS OUTDOOR ADVERTISING CONTROL MAP

Photo of the Award of ExcellenceA multidisciplinary team at UDOT recently received national recognition for developing the Outdoor Advertising Control Map.

The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 gave state departments of transportation the responsibility of enforcing rules governing outdoor advertising, aka billboards. UDOT has developed an online mapping system that helps the general public and UDOT staff to efficiently identify the location of all highways where outdoor advertising is controlled, and where all permitted billboards are located along these controlled highways.

In April, UDOT became one of only three states to receive a national award from the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies for developing this innovative mapping system.

The following statewide team collaborated to bring this award winning map to life:

DTS

  • Monty King

Central ETS/GIS

  • Becky Hjelm
  • Frank Pisani

Central Right-of-Way

  • Lyle McMillian
  • Krissy Plett
  • Rod McDaniels

Project Development Administration

  • Randy Park
  • Lisa Wilson

Region Permitting Operations

  • Tommy Vigil
  • Nacey Wilson
  • Nazee Treweek
  • Mark Velasquez
  • Tony Lau
  • Rux Rowland
  • Rhett Arnell
  • Dale Stapley
  • Steve Kunzler
  • Scott Snow

Central Attorney General’s Office

  • Renee Spooner

Central Asset Management

  • Stan Burns
  • Kelli Bacon
  • Abdul Wakil
  • Peter Bigelow

Risk Management

  • Brandi Trujillo

For more information about the the map check out Show Me a Sign.

Thank you to Rod McDaniels for his help writing this post.

Auto-generated summary sheets

Photo of John Guymon

John Guymon, UDOT Rotational Engineer

For each roadway preservation or rehabilitation project, UDOT designers fill out a summary sheet that provides a tally of measurements and material quantities needed for the project. Collecting data on-site, compiling data and figuring quantities can take a week or more. “You go out into the field with a wheel and tape, and you measure everything,” says UDOT rotational engineer John Guymon. His work to integrate online data with a spreadsheet is helping UDOT designers work more efficiently.

Guymon used coding and Microsoft Excel to create a form that uses asset management data and standard formulas for figuring material quantities to populate the summary sheet. The data sets are housed in the UDOT Data Portal, UDOT’s online data repository.

The Auto Report Generator is simple to use, and works along with the Linear Bench tool, both accessible on the UDOT Data Portal. Step-by-step instructions are available with the form. Once produced, the summary sheet shows:

  • Pavement type, surface area and material amounts for granular borrow and base course. The pavement type generated in the report is specific to the region, since climate differences around the state call for different pavement types.
  • Barrier in the project area, including location, total feet, and post type, all sorted into standard and non-standard types to show any areas in need of full replacement.
  • Signs, including location, sign type, size and any damage present during data collection.
  • Pavement marking type, paint amounts, messages, and rumble strips or grooved-in paint.

Once the summary sheet has been populated, the sheet can be used to verify measurements, barrier type, roadway geometry, pavement messages, etc.

So far, the new form has been downloaded over 600 times since it became available, about two months ago, and users have become instant fans. Kendall Draney says that one advantage is that using the form keeps employees out of harm’s way. Draney used the form as a design rotational engineer in Region Three. Sometimes getting measurements necessitates a dash across a busy roadway. “It’s really nice to have something that you’re using to verify,” says Draney. “It’s much safer to be on the shoulder.”

Engineering Tech IV Lynda Seckletstewa likes the consistency of the quantity amounts generated by the reports and “quantities for the existing features pulled by the report generator are within 2% of field quantities.”

The reports also provide “an instant checklist for field reviews,” says Seckletstewa. “Generated notes for various features point out deficiencies that we may have otherwise overlooked.”

The new summary form is an example of how UDOT is making good use of data collected on everything on a state roadway that can be viewed through a car window. “I didn’t realize how useful the Mandli data would be,” says Guymon. He views the tool as a first effort that can be improved over time.

Find out about other ways to view data, including the Linear Bench and Highway Reference Online, on the UDOT Data Portal.

Read about the Mandli data-gathering effort here.

UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras Featured in New AASHTO Video

AASHTO occasionally posts a video they call the “2 Minute Update”, featuring transportation leaders from different state DOTs across the country. This month’s video profiles UDOT’s Executive Director Carlos Braceras. Carlos explains his vision for UDOT and discusses our emphasis on integrated transportation and the importance of educating new engineers. AASHTO distributes the video to reporters nationwide, and a few have already filed stories, including this one from CE News.

 

2014 Top 10 Construction Projects

The Utah Department of Transportation’s 2014 construction season will start soon. With more than 175 projects worth more than $800 million, UDOT is in for a busy summer.

A few large-scale expansion projects will help optimize mobility by adding new lanes and roads to accommodate Utah’s growing population. In addition, many preventive maintenance projects will help preserve the state’s infrastructure – keeping roads and bridges in good condition, and avoiding the need for more costly repairs in the future. The department will also continue to use innovative technology to improve traffic flow with the installation of the sixth and seventh diverging diamond interchanges in the state.

The following is a list of the top 10 projects statewide in 2014:

  1. I-15, South Davis County 
    UDOT will extend the longest continuous Express Lanes in the country with the reconstruction of I-15 in Davis County this summer. This project also includes the replacement of multiple bridges from North Salt Lake to Farmington in addition to new interchange configurations at 2600 South and 500 South, which will help improve traffic in those areas. A new pedestrian bridge at Parrish Lane and sidewalk improvements on 500 North and 500 South are also included in the project. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-April and is expected to be complete in 2015. Budget: $117 million
  2. S.R. 201 Reconstruction, Salt Lake County
    Crews will be placing new concrete pavement on S.R. 201 between 5600 West and 9450 West, and widening ramps at the 5600 West interchange. As part of this project, utilities, street signs, and traffic signals will also be upgraded. Work is scheduled start in late April and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. These improvements will prolong the life of the road and reduce congestion in the area. Budget: $20 million
  3. Bangerter Highway/Redwood Road interchange, Salt Lake County 
    UDOT will construct a new interchange at the Redwood Road and Bangerter Highway intersection, similar to the interchange at 7800 South and Bangerter Highway. Construction will start this summer and last for approximately one year. The completed project will improve the flow of traffic in a rapidly growing area of Salt Lake County and enhance safety. Budget: $42 million
  4. I-15, South Cedar City DDI, Cedar City 
    Crews will reconfigure the I-15 interchange at Exit 57, on the south end of Cedar City, as a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) to improve the flow of traffic for cars, bikes and pedestrians. It includes new ramp construction and modifications to Main Street and the frontage roads. This will be the sixth DDI in Utah. The project is underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. Budget: $10 million
  5. Riverdale Road Reconstruction, Roy
    UDOT is reconstructing Riverdale Road between the I-84 interchange and S.R. 126 in Roy to improve traffic flow and reduce delays in the area. The project will replace the existing asphalt with new concrete pavement, add a northbound off-ramp and a southbound on-ramp at I-15, and construct two new intersections as well as a new bridge over the freeway. Construction is underway and is scheduled for completion in late fall 2014. Budget: $24 million
  6. I-15, 1100 South DDI, Brigham City 
    UDOT is converting the existing 1100 South interchange on Interstate 15 in Brigham City to a DDI – the seventh in the state, and the first in northern Utah. This innovative interchange will improve the flow of traffic for drivers traveling to and from Logan on U.S. 91. The north half of the interchange is under construction and will be completed in summer 2014. Once the north half is complete, traffic will be switched to the new bridge, crews will demolish the existing bridge, and the south half of the interchange in scheduled to be constructed by fall 2014. Budget: $$10 million
  7. I-80, Parleys Resurfacing, Parleys Canyon
    UDOT is resurfacing Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon from the mouth of the canyon (near Foothill Drive) to the Ranch exit (exit 132).This maintenance project will replace several areas of rough pavement throughout the canyon with new durable asphalt. Construction scheduled to start this summer and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. Budget: $4 million
  8. State Street Resurfacing, Salt Lake County
    UDOT will perform regular maintenance repaving State Street from 400 South to 3300 South, removing the top layer of pavement and replacing it with new asphalt. In addition, crews will reconstruct pedestrian ramps and median islands. Construction is scheduled to start in late April and is expected to be complete by summer 2014. This project will prolong the life of the pavement and provide a smoother ride for drivers. Budget: $4 million
  9. I-80, Silver Creek to Wanship, Summit County
    This project will reconstruct a seven-mile section of Interstate 80, one of the most heavily-traveled highways in Utah, using new concrete pavement to prolong the life of the roadway. Crews will also replace the westbound bridge over Silver Creek. Construction is expected to start in June and is scheduled to be complete in 2015. Budget: $43 million
  10. U.S. 40 improvements, Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah Counties 
    UDOT crews will be working in several locations along U.S. 40: extending passing lanes near Daniels Summit and Vernal; repaving near Fort Duchesne and Jensen; and upgrading lighting in Roosevelt. These projects will enhance safety for drivers and help traffic flow more smoothly between the Wasatch Front and the Uintah Basin. Construction is underway and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2014. Budget: $13 million

Construction activities, dates and times are subject to change because of weather or delays. For the latest information, download the free “UDOT Traffic” app on any iPhone or Android device or visit udottraffic.utah.gov.

UDOT 2014 Top 10 Road Construction Guide (745KB PDF Download)

Pavement Marking Check-up

Photo of right side white lineRetroreflectivity, which makes pavement markings visible at night, happens when the light from vehicle headlights bounces back toward the driver’s eyes. Visible markings help prevent lane departure crashes. But markings degrade over time due to weather and wear from traffic, so departments of transportation need to keep on top of pavement marking maintenance through regular inspections and replacement of sub-par markings.

Until recently, markings were measured subjectively by just taking a look and rating the condition of the marking. For the past year, however, retroreflectivity has been measured objectively, and data from those measurements is available on UDOT’s Data Portal.

Each spring and fall, employees from UDOT’s Maintenance Planning Division measure the retroreflectivity of markings on a randomly chosen selection of roadway segments, including dashed lane markings and solid lines that mark the edge of the road.

Photo of the van that is used to measure pavement markingMeasurements are taken using a mobile retroreflectometer mounted in a van. The retroreflectometer, shoots a high intensity Laser in a sweeping motion over marked pavement and measures the light that reflects back in milli-candelas per lux per meter squared – a measure of light per unit area.

The data gathered by the measuring effort is compiled and graded from A+ to F – this spring, UDOT got a B. This year’s fall data is in the process of being compiled. The data on UDOT’s Data Portal can be viewed on a map alone or along with other data sets.

Over time, having an objective measurements of pavement retroreflectivity will help support safety by helping to direct funding where improvement is needed.

2013 Construction Season Nears the End

The leaves have turned, the first snow has fallen on the mountains, and the 2013 construction season is nearing an end. UDOT and contractor crews have completed more than 200 road construction projects statewide in 2013. By the end of the year, 216 projects will have been carried out state roads and Interstates from Plymouth to St. George and from Wendover to Vernal. Each one of these projects was designed to help accomplish one or more of UDOT’s strategic goals:

    Photo of crews working along I-80 in Parleys Canyon

    Construction crews installing a new 66″ concrete pipe along I-80 in Parleys Canyon.

  • Preserve Infrastructure
  • Optimize Mobility
  • Zero Fatalities
  • Strengthen the Economy

In 2013, most construction projects fell under the goal to Preserve Infrastructure. These repaving and rehabilitation projects will keep Utah’s roads in good condition and prevent the need for more costly repairs in the future. Maintaining our highways helps them last as long as possible, and benefits the economy by keeping people, goods, and services moving throughout the state.

In 2012, UDOT completed 229 projects with a total value of $2,783,444,049, which included the I-15 CORE and Mountain View Corridor projects. By comparison, the total value of projects scheduled for completion in 2013 is $631,489,082. To make the best use of a much smaller budget during the 2013 construction season, the department focused on maintaining and making minor improvements to Utah’s roads, rather than major expansion or reconstruction efforts.

During the 2013 construction season, UDOT has resurfaced or repaired pavement on more than 400 miles of Utah highways and roads, and has completed 12 bridge repair or replacement projects. Some notable projects that have been completed or are scheduled for completion this year include:

    Photo of new bridge over I-15 at St. George Blvd during construction

    Workers constructing a new bridge over I-15 as part of the new DDI at St. George Boulevard.

  • I-80 Culvert Installation: Workers installed approximately two miles of 6-foot-diameter concrete pipe along I-80 in Parley’s Canyon to replace the original drainage system constructed in the 1960s.
  • I-15 Widening: Crews widened an 8-mile section of I-15 in southern Utah County from two lanes to three this year to reduce congestion and accommodate future growth in the area.
  • St. George Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI): Workers are converting the existing interchange at I-15 and St. George Boulevard into Utah’s fifth operating DDI to improve the flow of traffic.
  • U.S. 89/91 Repaving: Crews repaved U.S. 89/91 in Cache County from Sardine Summit to Wellsville.
  • U.S. 89 (State Street) Widening: Workers widened and repaved a two-mile section of State Street between Orem and Pleasant Grove.
  • Bangerter Highway Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI): Crews completed a new CFI at the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South to improve traffic flow in southwest Salt Lake County. Utah leads the nation with 11 CFIs (there are only 20 total in the nation).
  • I-215 Concrete Maintenance: Workers repaired concrete on I-215 from S.R. 201 to North Temple to extend the useful life of the pavement.

Moving forward in 2014, UDOT will widen I-15 at the Point of the Mountain and in Davis County, as well as continue its aggressive focus on maintaining existing roads.

This guest post was written by Leigh Gibson from the UDOT Traffic team. 

Show Me a Sign

The new Outdoor Advertising Control Map is improving government transparency and boosting efficiency at UDOT.

Photo of a billboard on I-15 in Weber CountyThe outdoor advertising industry, UDOT Project Managers and UDOT Permit Officers represent three of the groups that are benefitting from a new online map that shows geospatial locations of billboards along interstate routes.

State governments enforce federal rules regulating billboards on some routes. Back in the 1960s, Ladybird Johnson took an interest in highway beatification and worked with congress to pass laws limiting the proliferation of billboards on freeways.

UDOT has a codified agreement with the federal government that determines how billboards are treated on federally-funded primary routes, the National Highway System and Scenic Byways. The agreement, passed in 1968, established the UDOT Outdoor Advertising Control System.

Not controlling billboards would mean UDOT’s share of federal money for roads would be reduced by tens of millions of dollars each year.

From days to minutes

Until recently, finding out when the exact location of a billboard could take a day or longer. Depending on the information needed, state employees would sometimes have to check up to three separate documents or drive to a billboard location, which could be hundreds of miles away.

Now, new GIS tools mean it’s possible to put information about billboards in the hands of anyone with online access. See the map by visiting the UDOT’s Outdoor Advertising Control Program web page or UPlan, UDOT’s Map Center.

By using the map, a few mouse clicks can produce an image of the billboard and get information about federal rules that apply – like proximity to the closest billboard. “It’s the first time we’ve been able to see billboards online in real-time and connected to our inventory control system,” says Rod McDaniels, Outdoor Advertising Control Program Manager, who worked with a multi-disciplinary team of experts to re-design the way UDOT regulates outdoor advertising signs.

Getting it together

Gathering and organizing the information involved identifying known sign locations and filling in information gaps where needed, conceptualizing and building an efficient system to regulate billboards, and building a user-friendly online, interactive map. During the process, over 5 hundred geospatial points referencing signs were updated.

Saving time and funding dollars

Putting the map online has reduced the workload for UDOT employees, which conserves funding. Formal requests for information from the public have been reduced since people in the sign industry can easily find the needed information.

Feedback from the outdoor sign industry has been positive. “It brings us into the twenty-first century,” says Krissy Plett, Statewide Permits Officer for UDOT. “Now they don’t have to send someone out to view a sign” since users can take a virtual trip to a billboard using the map.

The map helps expedite project delivery too. UDOT project managers and maintenance workers can now easily see the exact location of signs that may be impacted by road work.

Links:

See the map, a PDF tutorial, and find information about state and federal laws and rules here.

See more maps or make your own map by visiting UPlan.

Interested in government transparency? See the UDOT Projects website to get information about past, current and future UDOT projects.

Under construction: GIS apps to improve safety

The following post is the second of a two-part series about how GIS tools help employees expedite work and refine the quality of information needed to improve the transportation system. Please also see GIS tools at work in UDOT Region Four.

Widespread, enthusiastic uses of spatial data have not always been embraced – mostly because employees didn’t have experience using the data and tools. One of UDOT’s most enthusiastic GIS tool proponents, Pre-Construction Engineer Monte Aldridge, took a pro-active approach and changed the work culture in region four.

Aldridge required his pre-construction team to use the tools and then report back at a monthly team meeting. Pre-construction teams are made up of members with a variety of engineering specialties, including design, environmental, and hydrology. Teams plan and design small and large roadway projects.

The experience was “very beneficial,” says Aldridge. Once the team members investigated the tools then shared their use experience, they were hooked.  “Now it’s something that’s used every day.”

Wildlife Corssing Images

Wildlife fencing works to direct animals safely across roadways. In the top photo, a mule deer buck has just crossed an overpass. In the bottom photo, fencing directs a mule deer herd to a crossing under the roadway.

For example, roadway designers found out right away that using the Linear Bench, a straight line diagram tool, is useful to catalog relevant roadway assets before designing a project. Region Four designers also use smartphones as on-site data-collectors to geo-reference roadway features when visiting a future construction site. Using the tools has prompted ideas for other uses.

Oh deer!

A large animal that gets around wildlife fencing “is an almost guaranteed accident,” says Aldridge. When a wildlife carcass is picked up on a UDOT route, the location, animal type, along with other information is currently geo-referenced with a smart phone app.  A modification to this app will send an email when a carcass is picked up along a road section where wildlife fencing has been installed. The email will alert transportation technicians that a fence may have been breached.

Another app is being developed to accumulate crash hot-spot data. The Utah Highway Patrol investigates highway crashes and turns over information over to UDOT. Information on the location and cause of a crash is not immediate, however. Overcoming that time lag in getting that information can speed up the time it takes to improve safety.

Staff in Region Four is working to identify how to log crash data to exclude private and sensitive information that’s collected as part of UHP’s investigation. Then, the non-sensitive information can help UDOT employees make safety improvements, if needed, more quickly.

GIS tools at work in UDOT Region Four

UDOT Region Four takes in half of the state. While other regions face heavy snow or urban traffic, Region Four’s challenge is to coordinate work over a large area. Geographic Information System (GIS) tools have helped that coordination process.

The following post is the first of a two-part series about how GIS tools help employees expedite work and refine the quality of information needed to improve the transportation system.

Data Portal screenshotGIS data can be accessed at the UDOT Data Portal.  Much of the information on the site is geo-referenced – that is, given an exact spatial location. The UDOT Data Portal also has tools to view and analyze the data sets. Tools include maps and the Linear Bench, a straight line diagram generator. Both tools can be populated with multiple data sets, like the location of culverts or bridges. Data sets can also be downloaded.

Maps and apps improve work coordination

The Utah Prairie Dog, which occupies habitat within the right-of-way of many highways in Region Four, is afforded protection under the Endangered Species Act. UDOT recently completed a formal consultation with the US Fish and Wildlife Service that defined measures to minimize impacts to this species.

As part of implementing these measures, UDOT uses GIS and GPS tools to identify and quantify the acreage of habitat of temporary and permanent impacts. The tools expedite surveying and monitoring efforts so UDOT can quickly complete necessary road work.

Material pits are the sources of rock, sand and gravel used on construction and maintenance projects. Pits located on BLM or US Forrest Service land require permits.

An app that geographically displays the pits along with their permitting information is helping UDOT employees stay on top of the permitting process. The app generates an automatic email six months before expiration of the permit so UDOT won’t risk losing access to pits.