Category Archives: Uncategorized

UDOT to announce Top 15 construction projects for 2015

RedwoodBangerter
Media Contact:
John Gleason
UDOT Public Information Officer
jgleason@utah.gov
Cell: 801-560-7740

February 26, 2015
For Immediate Release

WHAT: Media availability regarding the release of UDOT’s top 15 road construction projects statewide for the 2015 construction season.

WHO: The following will be available for interviews:

  • Carlos Braceras, UDOT executive director
  • Tim Rose, Point project director
  • John Gleason, UDOT public information officer

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 27 at 11:00 a.m.

VISUALS: Construction equipment and barrels.
Broll opportunity on I-15 on the Point project
(please wear appropriate shoes and clothing to enter work site if interested).

WHERE: UDOT’s South Valley Maintenance Shed — 244 West 13800 South in Draper

UDOT, Granger-Hunter Improvement District and Cedar City Partner to Save $500,000

Photo of base and 3 panels of water tank under constructionThe Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) and Granger-Hunter Improvement District (GHD) worked together to relocate to Cedar City a 2 million gallon water tank that was moved to make way for the Mountain View Corridor (MVC). By recycling existing resources, UDOT, GHD and Cedar City saved taxpayers $500,000.

UDOT is currently preparing for the next phase of construction on the Mountain View Corridor from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City. The 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 GHD worked together to build a new, 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future roadway.

Photo of water tank under construction with first rise and base in place.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.

“We are always looking for ways to create positive outcomes during the construction process,” said Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director. “This is a great example of government and utility companies working together to save taxpayer money.”

Mountain View Corridor consists of two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South. MVC will eventually be a 35-mile freeway from I-80 in Salt to Lehi Main Street.

If you would like to learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview. To learn more about Granger-Hunter Improvement District, visit www.ghid.org. To learn more about Cedar City, visit www.cedarcity.org.

Photo of water tank with second rise in place

This guest post was written by the Mountain View Corridor Project Team.

Interactive Projects Map Being Prepared for Public Launch

Screen shot of the interactive map show details about the Pioneer Crossing Exension

A new interactive projects map will utilize existing GIS layers and add project specific detail for use in meetings with local governments and stakeholders

UDOT Region Three is developing an interactive map to display project information in a GIS format.

Region Three will develop and test its use with plans to launch the GIS map as a statewide resource in the future. Internal staff and technical staff may be accustomed to using GIS, but this map is targeted for use with local government officials and other key stakeholders so that people not familiar with GIS can easily find meaningful information in a public-friendly format.

The map will utilize existing GIS layers and add project-specific details, such as concept and final design, for use in meetings with local governments and stakeholders. A limited number of layers will be pre-selected to keep the map interface simple and easy to use for non-GIS users.

The Interactive Projects Map development team is working toward a June launch date in order to begin using this resource through the summer. As we use the map, we will gather feedback from stakeholders and internal staff alike to refine the map and its functionality. An updated version of the map based on initial feedback is targeted to be launched in November. Link to the map from the UDOT Region Three homepage www.udot.utah.gov/go/region3.

2013 Strategic Direction — Part 4

This is the fourth and final post in our series about the 2013 Strategic Direction. Please also check out Part 1: Preserve Infrastructure, Part 2: Optimize Mobility and Part 3: Zero Fatalities.

Strengthen the Economy

This goal recognizes UDOT’s role in creating and managing a transportation system that enables economic growth and empowers prosperity. Investing in major roadway projects in the past few years has paid great dividends. While many cities in the United States show increasing travel times, Utah travel times are decreasing. This is very significant considering the population of Utah has grown 63 percent since 1990.

UDOT is providing a product for future generations. When Utah’s roadways are safe, free of congestion and operate efficiently, Utahns are free to live where they like with a wider selection of jobs. Businesses are also able to reach a wider range of customers and employee base. Success in the first three goals creates a solid foundation for economic growth.

UDOT understands the importance of mobility and its significance for economic growth. Businesses also understand the importance of locating in areas where their product can be distributed quickly and efficiently, and where their employees can benefit from a healthy quality of life.

Everyone benefits from a safe transportation system, including the economy. When a roadway is known to be safe, residents and visitors will be more likely to use it. Safe roads can promote the growth of business along that roadway and the local economy.

For the third year in a row, Forbes magazine has named Utah as the best state in the U.S. for doing business. According to economist, transportation plays a big role in the state’s business environment. Certainly, businesses in Utah are benefiting from the improved mobility on roadways.

In conclusion, UDOT has completed two of the largest projects in our history using only state funds and delivered the largest construction season in our history. Our significant challenge remains. However, the future is bright for transportation as we focus on our four strategic goals.

STRENGTHEN THE ECONOMY

Utah’s Speaker of the House said transportation helps strengthen the economy in opening remarks at the annual UDOT Conference.

Lockhart took time to speak with conference attendees after her remarks.

Speaker Becky Lockhart has an affinity for orange barrels. The large traffic control devices are a sign of road construction “which I love,” she said during lunch time remarks on Monday.

While road construction can make getting around inconvenient temporarily, in the long run, transportation projects help strengthen the economy. Building and maintaining an efficient transportation system helps support commerce, job growth, and helps expand a healthy tax base that can fund critical needs like education, explained Lockhart.

Speaker Lockhart was part of an effort with other lawmakers to examine the way transportation funding was accomplished in the past. “We looked at the past and tried to find a plan to work in the future for the next two decades.” Lockhart said former legislator Marta Dilree, who was a strong advocate for transportation funding, started the effort to evaluate transportation issues years ago.

Lockhart also spoke about the importance of maintaining roads and bridges. Funding maintenance has been made more difficult by the depth and duration of the recession. Ongoing maintenance is important to keeping the transportation system healthy, but articulating that message can be difficult.

Lockhart praised Provo River Constructors, who are building the I-15 CORE project, and said “we got what we wanted and more,” since the project team delivered the requirements of the project efficiently and ahead of schedule. The taxpayers owe the contractors a “debt of gratitude,” said Lockhart.

Speaker Lockhart acknowledged that elected officials have a lot of tough decisions to make when it comes to balancing all the needs of the state. By working together she is confident that decision makers “can make Utah the best place to live and play.”

The UDOT Conference is an annual event that brings employees, contractors and researchers together to share way to improve the transportation system.

SNOW ARSENAL

Tow plows are one way UDOT improves the efficiency of snow removal to keep roads clear during the winter.

UDOT has over 500 trucks that are used to plow roads during winter. Eight of those trucks are equipped with tow plows. When deployed, tow plows swing from the back to the side of the truck and double the amount of snow that can be plowed. Tow plows require trucks with larger motors and tag axles that are capable of handling the large piece of equipment.

UDOT’s fleet is valued at about $200 million dollars – a significant investment of taxpayer money.  UDOT Central Maintenance puts a lot of emphasis on taking care of equipment to make sure trucks and plows work efficiently and have a long useful life.

Many of UDOT’s operators attended a training recently to practice skills and to get a review of how take care of towplows.  The slides below show some of the operating systems on tow plows.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

In addition to adding tow plows to its snow removal arsenal, UDOT has improved the efficiency of feet vehicles by adding wing plows to most of the existing 10 wheeler fleet, by using sanders for spreading de‐icing materials, and by using brine, high performing salts and other liquid anti‐icing agents. Wetting the salt is a much more effective approach for keeping roads clear since dry salt can bounce or blow off the road.

UDOT’s strategic goals, briefly stated, are to preserve infrastructure, optimize mobility, improve safety, and strengthen the economy. Known as the Final Four, the goals provide guidance in all agency departments by articulating the responsibilities UDOT has as to the public.

By maintaining roads and highways, UDOT’s equipment and fleet meet all of the Final Four goals. By preserving infrastructure, UDOT provides a quality transportation system that helps bring industry to the state, which also strengthens the economy. By plowing roads during winter storms, and making repairs that keep roads functioning smoothly, UDOT’s fleet helps optimize mobility and improve safety.

SAFE ROUTES AWARD

UDOT participates in the Safe Routes to School, an award-winning program that helps communities identify and implement safety improvements.

The “UDOT Crossing Guard Fundamentals” DVD and Quick Reference is an aid to local law enforcement agencies who have the responsibility to train crossing guards. In 2012, 97 percent of all known law enforcement agencies were using the crossing guard training materials developed by the SNAP program.

The Harvard Bright Ideas in Government Award, which honors innovative government partnerships, has been given to National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) for working with communities across the country to make walking and riding to school safer for kids.

SRTS is a data driven program that collects information on the travel habits of school children to improve safety at the local level and to also understand trends at the national level.  The program also funds infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects at the state level.

UDOT has participated in the SRTS program since 2007. During that time sixty-nine projects have been funded, including infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalks, paved trails and installed bike racks, and non-infrastructure activities, such as walk-to-school-day events, bike rodeos, and safety assemblies.

The Student Neighborhood Access Program is a comprehensive, state-wide non-infrastructure program that falls under the SRTS umbrella.

Walk More in Four

Too many cars around a school drop-off point can result in traffic congestion, increase the risk of fender-benders and make watching out for pedestrians and cyclists more difficult. Walk More in Four is an annual fall SNAP event that encourages students in Kindergarten through eighth grade to walk or bike safely to school. The program aims to teach kids safe habits and to reduce the number of cars driving on streets around schools. SNAP has had a positive impact, according to Cherissa Wood who coordinates UDOT’s SNAP program.

A voluntary survey of participants indicates that most students rarely walked or biked to school during the previous year. “By encouraging students to walk or bike to school at least three times each week during September, SNAP positively changed the travel behaviors of Utah students and provided the means for develop a lasting, safe and healthy habit,” says Wood.

Since the first statewide Walk More in Four event in 2009, more than 6,000 Utah students have walked or biked to school at least three times each week during September.

A SNAP Map shows the safest walking and biking routes.

SNAP Mapping Software

Getting kids to school safely is aided by SNAP Mapping Software. The web-based program uses Google Maps™ to help principals create and distribute maps that show the safest walking and biking routes.  More than 200 Utah elementary, middle, and junior high schools from 24 school districts have a current SNAP Map.

SNAP, Walk ’n Roll

Since its launch in 2009, more than 90,000 elementary students at 100 schools have enjoyed “SNAP, Walk ’n Roll,” a free safety assembly for elementary age students. The show uses music and actors to teach the importance of following the SNAP Map, bicycle and pedestrian safety and how to stay safe around road construction.

Crossing Guard Training

The “UDOT Crossing Guard Fundamentals” DVD and Quick Reference is an aid to local law enforcement agencies who have the responsibility to train crossing guards. In 2012, 97 percent of all known law enforcement agencies were using the crossing guard training materials developed by the SNAP program.

ROUGHED UP

UDOT is participating in a study of  High Friction Surfacing as part of a nationwide study sponsored by FHWA.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

On sharp curves, freeway ramps or steep hills, rain and high speeds can combine to create dangerous slick conditions, especially for semis or other large vehicles. FHWA is reaching out to UDOT and other states to promote the study and possible implementation of HFS. Several states have used HFS and realized an immediate reduction in crashes.

HFS, usually consisting of an epoxy binder and a non-polishing aggregate, improve roadway skid-resistance in places where motorists need help to brake more effectively. HFS  improve skid resistance by applying a microtexture that increases pavement-tire friction. The aggregate used in HFS is critical; calcined bauxite is used often because it maintains it’s microtexture and resists material loss under heavy traffic.

UDOT has identified two locations, one in Payson and one in Logan Canyon, where HFS will be evaluated. Before and after studies that look at crash data, skid resistance, and other factors, will provide the basis for an objective assessment. UDOT will also monitor how the HFS tolerates weather extremes, traffic and snow plows.

If the treatment is shown to be effective, UDOT may draft a specification or special provision to allow HFS to be used at other appropriate locations.

See the slide show above to see a step by step narrative of how the treatment was applied in Payson. For photo captions, click on the images.

PUBLIC-PRIVATE REST AREAS

UDOT was the first state department of transportation to partner with private service stations to provide Safety Rest Areas on interstates.

A Chevron Station near Cove Fort serves as a public-private rest area. Visitors have access to restrooms and water without having to make a purchase.

A business in Springville was the first public-private Safety Rest Area; it replaced an old SRA that needed to be torn down. Five more partnerships have followed, and overall, the approach has worked well for UDOT, businesses, taxpayers and road users.

The partnership requires some commitment on the part of participating businesses, according to UDOT Permits Engineer Rhett Arnell who oversees five of the rest areas. Businesses must be easy to access from the freeway, agree to stay open around the clock, provide water and access to clean restrooms without requiring a purchase, and have adequate parking for cars and tractor-trailers.  Arnell spoke at the National Safety Rest Area Conference in Salt Lake City this week.

UDOT provides signage that directs drivers to the stops. The benefit for businesses is more customers, which helps offset higher maintenance costs.  The Utah Department of Tourism provides free information about local and regional attractions.

The partnerships have saved thousands of dollars of funding each year, according to Arnell. Cleaning services costs UDOT over $80 thousand per rest area per year.  And the partnerships have saved taxpayers from funding new buildings.

Businesses that participate seem to like the arrangement. Arnell said that some have opted out of the program and then decided to participate again.

A UDOT report issued in 2007 found that the public-private partnerships work well to provide for the basic needs of road users. The report suggests that the program be expanded to more locations and lists some additional features, such as picnic and play areas, that could be added in the future.

About Safety Rest Areas:

The first interstate rest areas came into being in 1938 as a part of the Federal Highway Aid Act. The Interstate Highway Act of 1956, establishment of the Highway Trust Fund in 1956, and the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 focused more attention on rest area construction nationwide.  Utah’s Rest Area System was developed at the same time Utah’s highway system was built.

UDOT’s newest Welcome Center and rest area was built in 2010. Tie Fork is located on US- 6 at milepost 202. The building and surrounding area is a tribute to Utah’s railroad past and the former town of Tucker.

SAFETY FIRST

The primary purpose of Safety Rest Areas along interstates is crash prevention.

A Safety Rest Area that also serves as a Welcome Center in Jensen, Utah.

Drowsy driving is a major cause of crashes in Utah and nation wide. SRAs  provide road users a place to take a rest break after traveling long distances.

Utah crash statistics indicate that seven fatigue related crashes occurred in the state in 2011. That number may be low considering that drowsy driving seems to be pervasive – a Utah Department of Public Safety poll indicates that 44 percent of respondents admit to falling asleep or nodding off while driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving results in 1,550 deaths, 40,000 injuries and more than 56,000 crashes each year in the US.

The National Sleep Foundation offers some advice on avoiding drowsy driving:

  • Before a trip, get at least eight hours of sleep – 71 percent of drivers who reported falling asleep in the Utah poll got less than eight hours of sleep the night before the trip
  • Take a break every 100 miles or 2 hours and have a snack or go for a brisk walk or run
  • Switch drivers during long trips
  • Take a nap—SRAs provide safe place to take a short nap if necessary

ZERO Fatalities

UDOT, the Utah Department of Public Safety and many other organizations have partnered to promote ZERO Fatalities, a crash prevention effort that addresses five major causes of traffic related death: drowsy driving, distracted driving, aggressive driving, impaired driving and not buckling up.