Category Archives: Uncategorized

GOOD, BAD AND UGLY PUBLIC MEETINGS

Providing the public with reliable, accurate information about road construction is a key function of a UDOT project team.

With good information, road users and affected property or business owners can make decisions about travel options or how to maintain a customer base during construction. The public meeting is a standard tool in the project team’s bag of communication resources.

Good public meetings allow stakeholders get important and relevant information, a chance to ask questions or make comments, and a resource for ongoing information as the project unfolds.

What happens when meeting organizers are not adequately prepared? Things could get ugly!

UDOT will show an example of what not to do at a training offered at the Engineering Conference on Wednesday, November 17 at 8 a.m. in room 200D.

Evelyn shows a name tag for the fake public meeting. Nothing says credibility like hand-drawn hearts.

Why the round-about approach? Says trainer Evelyn Tuddenham: “We’ll be bad so you don’t have to!” Evelyn and her team have invented a fake project to drive home the point.

Because a bad public meeting should never happen in the real world, the end result of this exercise will be a list of real guidelines so project team members will know how to plan and execute a beneficial public meeting.

It may be unrealistic to turn a public meeting into a stairway to heaven, but UDOT can always avoid a highway to heck when it comes to providing good reliable public information.

UDOT LIFESAVER GETS A SWEET AWARD

Robert Hull has Zero tolerance for traffic fatalities.

As UDOT’s Engineer for Traffic and Safety, Hull has spearheaded many ambitious and successful programs to improve roadway safety in Utah. For working hard to save lives, the American Association of State Highway Officials has given Hull its top honor: the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award.

Robert Hull stands in front of the plaque given to him for winning the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award

The recognition is intended for middle management leaders who make an “outstanding contribution to his/her department in engineering or management.”

Brent Wilhite with Penna Powers Brian Haynes has worked closely with Hull. “Robert is skilled at getting other people to catch his vision of creating a culture of safety, ” says Wilhite.

“His efforts to promote traffic safety have set Utah as the model for other states. Members of AASHTO, FHWA and individual states have sought his counsel and guidance in their safety programs. Utah drivers are fortunate to have Robert as UDOT’s Engineer for Traffic Safety.”

Buckle-up for safety

Chief among those efforts is the Zero Fatalities public information campaign that aims to eliminate the five top behaviors that kill people on Utah roads: drowsy distracted, aggressive and impaired driving and not buckling up.

Media coverage has helped increase public awareness of safety issues

Zero unites the efforts of law enforcement, safety educators, engineers and emergency responders and has received numerous local and national awards.

A team approach

Hull also formed the Safety Leadership Team with leaders from UDOT, Utah Department of Public Safety’s Highway Safety Office, Federal Highways Administration, Utah Highway Patrol and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In 2004, these cross agency experts joined forces to develop Utah’s Comprehensive Safety Plan before such a plan was even required. The massive effort caught the attention of FHWA and led to Utah’s designation as a model state.

Safety for kids is the focus of SNAP

Safe routes for kids

SNAP is UDOT’s effort to coordinate safe routes to school for elementary and junior high students. Hull pioneered development of software that uses Google Maps to take inventory of features like sidewalks, traffic signs, and roads to determine the safest route to walk to school. Over 300 Utah schools have participated in the SNAP program, and 64 percent of schools use the software.

Spend and save

Knowing that Federally funded Highway Safety Improvement Program monies save lives when well spent, under Hull’s direction, those improvements, like cable barrier or rumble strips, are programmed as quickly and as systematically as possible.

And, Hull makes sure every safety project is evaluated using an evidence based approach to get the most benefit for each precious taxpayer dollar. UDOT’s focus on efficient project delivery ensures traffic safety funding results in projects that help reduce fatalities.

Congratulations to UDOT’s safety guru, Robert Hull!

FLYING STEEL AND FREEWAYS: NOT A GOOD MIX

A UDOT sponsored press event aimed at reminding motorists to prevent freeway litter featured a story about a flying chunk of steel and a demonstration of the right way to tie down loads.

Litter Hurts: Alema Harrington was hit and injured by flying debris on the freeway. His story is a good reminder to properly tie down loads before transporting on Utah roads.

Wearing a sling from an injury caused by debris on I-15, Utah Jazz Broadcaster Alema Harrington warned motorists about what can happen when loads are not secured properly. “You could be a participant” in an accident that could have tragic consequences.

Harrington knows he could have been killed. On his way to work, he saw an airborne object heading straight for his vehicle. What turned out to be a chunk of steel flew through his windshield, hit his arm and punctured his back seat.

A jagged piece of steel flew through Alema Harrington's windshield.

“You don’t have time to be scared. It’s just one of those things. You just go into survival mode.”

To raise public awareness about freeway litter, Harrington recorded a public service announcement to warn motorists about how debris can cause injury or other incidents. (Scroll down to view the PSA.)

His story shows why motorists need to be very careful to properly secure transported items. UDOT maintenance workers Jake Brown and CJ Connor were on hand to give how-to demonstrations.

Litter is not just soda cans or old newspaper; it's anything that does not belong on Utah's roads. According to UDOT maintenance workers, ladders are an often retrieved item. CJ Connor, left, and Jake Brown demonstrated how to secure a ladder in the bed of a pick-up.

Securing items on a trailer or in a pick-up bed can be done using items commonly available at a home improvement store. For example, wrapping up lawn debris in a tarp can prevent leaves from “flying out like a bunch of confetti,” said Jake.  For a list safety tips for securing items, visit the Litter Hurts website and see “Are You Secure?” at the top.

UDOT provided media with a CD video of  Harrington’s PSA:

VOTE EARLY AND OFTEN

Candidates and architectural firms are vying for your vote.

UDOT’s Tie Fork Rest Area is up for a People’s Choice Award from the American Institute of Architects, Salt Lake Chapter. Voting is taking place online on the Salt Lake Tribune website.

Tie Fork Rest Area has a replica of a round-house with interpretive panels that explain the significance of the region to early railroad history.

“Of course we believe that it is the People Choice but to make it official we need to make sure that it has the most votes,” says Bill Jusczak, Facilities Coordinator at UDOT.

“I am encouraging everyone that I know to cast a vote,” says Bill.

What a patriot!

A ROAD BY ANY OTHER NAME

UDOT asks local residents to name State Route 92.

SR-92 needs a new name

SR-92 is not a completely new road but the heavily-used arterial is getting enough of a face lift that a new identity seems to be in order.

From Scott Thompson, Region Three Public Involvement Manager: Utah Department of Transportation officials are looking to find a new alternative name for state Route 92 (S.R. 92) in northern Utah County as it launches an online contest this week.

“Technically, S.R. 92 already has an alternative name: the Highland Highway,” said Bryan Adams, director for UDOT’s Access Utah County program.  “But that designation has never really been embraced by the road’s users.  I’ve heard it called everything from ‘the Alpine Highway’ to simply ‘the road to American Fork Canyon.’”

With the road currently under reconstruction between I-15 and S.R. 74, Adams said it seemed like a good time to give S.R. 92 a new and lasting alternative name.

“With the new commuter lanes we are building along with the road-widening we are doing, S.R. 92 is going to be a new and exciting roadway, and we thought it should have a new and exciting name,” Adams said.  “We’ll have the opportunity to put this new name on the road signs we are building as part of the project, and to brand it in all of our press releases and construction updates during the last year of construction.”

UDOT is asking the public to help them come up with the new name for S.R. 92.  Now through Friday, November 19, name submission forms will be available on the S.R. 92 construction website.  Rules and guidelines for the contest can be found on the website as well.

“This is a chance for people to leave a lasting mark on their community,” Adams said.  “We’re excited to give people this unique opportunity.”

The S.R. 92 reconstruction project is being built through a joint venture of the Flatiron and Harper construction companies.  It is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2011. For more information about S.R. 92 please visit the project website or call the project information hotline at 1-877-222-3757.

UDOT RECLAIMS 7800 SOUTH

A process that recycles old asphalt into new road base was recently used on 7800 South in West Jordan.

A tanker followed by a reclaimer adds emulsion to crushed asphalt. Road Science is the sub-contractor working with Condie Construction on this project.

Full Depth Reclamation has been used by UDOT for about five years. The process uses a large piece of equipment called a reclaimer to grind up and re-use the old road instead of removing old road material and hauling it off.

Here’s a simple step by step:

First, a few inches of asphalt is milled off the old road. The area is pulverized and water is added, if needed. The reclaimer passes over the road and grinds up the pulverized portion, then passes again and adds an emulsion.

After a few roller passes, the area is tested for correct compaction.

At this point, the material is slightly oily and looks like Oreo cookie crumbs. A sheep’s foot roller and a grader are used to compact and grade the soon-to-be road base.

The new base material is then rolled to the correct compaction. With evaporation, the compacted area gets harder and becomes suitable as new road base. On 7800 South asphalt pavement tops off the process.

Lonnie Marchant, Materials Engineer at UDOT Region Two is a champion of FDR because the process:

Makes good economic sense. It’s a good use of increasingly scarce resources to recycle road material if possible.

Produces a good base. Structural numbers for FDR are almost as good as new asphalt.

Reduces wear on surrounding haul routes. UDOT has observed wear and tear on roads near other projects sites after heavy trucks haul away materials.

Reduces impact to road users and property owners along the construction corridor. FDR is great for an urban setting because the process is fast and requires fewer large trucks that slow traffic. Vehicles can drive over the crushed material right away, so driveways are only blocked while the equipment passes.

FDR has been used on three Region Two projects with very good results. UDOT will continue to use FDR and other processes that save money and make good use of used road products.

TEAM ENERGY

A new blog will give information about saving energy.

The Employee Efficiency Partnership is a cooperative effort involving the Governor’s Office, the National Energy Foundation and Utah State Employees.

Deb Henry, a rotational engineer at UDOT, is making it easier for others to find ways to save energy.  As part of her role on the UDOT Energy Team, she’s writing a blog that will will be an ongoing source of energy saving ideas, tips and facts.

Who knew that most bottle caps are typically hard to recycle and that taking caps off bottles before recycling saves time and energy? Deb explains it all in detail on her blog and includes links to more information like The Story of Bottled Water.

UDOT’s energy team is part of the State of Utah’s “Think! Energy Utah” Employee Energy Efficiency Partnership  started by the Herbert administration in 2009. The National Energy Partnership is a supporting organization.

“I would like UDOT employees to focus on how using energy efficiently means our tax dollars go further,” says Deb.  If you would like to be part of UDOT’s Energy Team, contact Deb at dhenry@utah.gov.

GIVING TODAY

The annual effort to let state employees know about donating to charitable organizations begins on Monday, October 4.

Giving through the Utah State Employees’ Charitable Fund makes supporting a good cause easy — with online enrollment and a one time donation option, it’s a cinch to participate. Choosing from among more than 500 charitable agencies is the tough part.

Are you interested in helping children, supporting the arts or improving the environment? What ever cause you want to help, there are probably many organizations that address your concerns.

Some of those organizations gathered at the State Library recently to meet representatives of state agencies and answer questions. Here are three out of hundreds of non-profits that participate in the state fund:

Christmas Box International

Caleb Loveless is serious about child welfare

“We’re all about child welfare,” says Caleb Loveless. Christmas Box International helps children in foster and shelter care by providing clothing and activities that support the needs of kids who have been abused or neglected.

Caleb likes participating in the Charitable Fund promotion to bring attention to child welfare issues. “We need to spread the word about what we do.”

Adopt a Native Elder

Mary Phillips peeks over a display of photos, yarn and textiles.

Mary Phillips represented Adopt a Native Elder, a program that helps Navajo weavers sustain themselves and their families through their craft. Many of the elders helped live in a traditional way by residing in Hogans or raising sheep or cattle. The program also provides other types of support like food assistance and homebound care.

Fort Douglas Military Museum

The mission of the Fort Douglas Military Museum is to “to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Fort Douglas and its impact on the history of Utah and the adjacent Western states,” according to the website. Donations to the Fort Douglas Military Museum help preserve an important part of the history of Utah and surrounding states. Director Robert Voyles says the museum includes exhibits about the Utah War and includes the history of Camp Floyd.

Museum Director Robert Voyles

The museum is raising funds for a new Main Gallery.  This year is the first time the museum has participated in the campaign.

The theme for this year: Giving Today Makes a Better Tomorrow!

For more information about other organizations or to donate, visit the  Utah State Employees Charitable Fund website.




MONUMENTAL AWARD

A history buff who worked with UDOT and others to build a monument to the Lincoln Highway was recently recognized for his efforts.

A Ford Model A is parked near the monument at the dedication event. A car like the one above traveled the Lincoln Highway in 1924 commemorating the 10-millionth Ford to roll off the assembly line.

Retired shop teacher Rollin Southwell says he “should have been a historian” because of his interest in the old Lincoln Highway and his admiration for its “flamboyant promoter” Carl Fisher. Rollin was recently presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award by Utah State History for 10 years of work to plan, build and place a monument to Fisher and the Lincoln Highway.

The monument, on Utah State Route 199 at milepost 12, marks what is now known as Fisher Pass and is part of Utah’s portion of the Lincoln Highway. Carl Fisher funded this part of the Lincoln Highway a century ago during a time when most roads were not suitable for the newly invented automobiles.

Jack Mason stands in front of a rock that was moved and placed near the monument.

Rollin worked closely with UDOT Region 2 Area Supervisor Jack Mason.  “Jack is an excellent supervisor of his people,” says Rollin. UDOT employees assisted in the effort by moving a large rock and paving near the monument. Jerry Timmins, also of Region two helped resolve a right-of-way issue. Most of the effort was paid for with private funds.

The monument plaque has a picture of a lighthouse — a strange image in landlocked Utah.  A lighthouse lit by Prest-O-lite gas, a product championed by Carl Fisher, was once proposed  as a way to provide light for Lincoln Highway travelers driving between Wendover and Tooele.  Plans for the lighthouse were found, but the structure was never built.

A solar-powered beacon turns on automatically after dark.  A Lincoln Highway Marker is placed next to the monument.

The Lincoln Highway, Carl Fishers brain child, was the nation’s first transcontinental road built exclusively for automobiles, and was planned to extend from San Francisco to New York City. Many routes for the Utah’s section of the Lincoln Highway were proposed. The final route crossed northern Utah from Wendover, Nevada, through Salt Lake and on to Evanston, Wyoming.

Utah State History Division Director Phil Notarianni, left, and Rollin Southwell at the award ceremony