Category Archives: Uncategorized

CABLE BARRIER

Cable barrier reduces the occurrence of crossover collisions.

Vehicles in a head-on crash collide at a force that equals the combined speed of each car. When vehicles hit cable barrier, the steel cable absorbs the crash.

Cable barrier is tensioned steel cable held up by weak posts. When installed properly between opposing traffic lanes, cable barrier prevents crossover collisions, which are “the most horrific crashes we can have,” says John Leonard, UDOT Traffic and Safety Operations Engineer. Often fatal or disabling, crossover collisions occur when a car veers off the road, into the median and then crashes into opposing traffic.

The steel cables protect vehicle occupants, absorb energy from the crash and keep the vehicle moving in the same direction as traffic.

UDOT started installing cable barrier in the late 1990s (Click to enlarge)

Cable barrier saves lives

UDOT has seen a steady decline of crossover collisions since the late 1990s when installation of cable barrier began. Since 2004,UDOT has installed nearly 200 miles of cable barrier. During that time, crossover collisions resulting in fatalities or serious injuries have decreased from nearly 70 to 20 per year.

The benefits of cable barrier are well known, but sometimes people outside the transportation arena don’t understand the purpose of the important safety feature that is installed between opposing traffic lanes on many Utah highways and interstates.

Myth 1: Cable barrier creates a hazard for motorists.

According to Scott Jones, UDOT Safety Programs Engineer, “putting barrier on the roadside actually does give people more opportunity to hit something.” However, cable barrier prevents head-on crashes that can be severe or fatal to occupants.

Serious and fatal crashes have declined since UDOT began installing cable barrier. (Click to enlarge)

Vehicles in a head-on crash collide at a force that equals the combined speed of each car. When vehicles hit cable barrier, the steel cable is displaced as it absorbs the crash and occupants are usually not injured severely.

Despite UDOT’s ongoing effort to educate drivers about the hazards of driving drowsy, distracted or impaired, people do end up driving into the median and into oncoming traffic, often because of driver error. For those motorists, crashing into cable barrier is much safer than crashing into oncoming traffic.

Myth 2: Cable barrier slices up vehicles.

Installed correctly,cable barrier especially is very forgiving when you hit it,” compared to concrete barrier or guardrail, says Jones. “We know that a lot of people drive into the cable barrier and then drive away – they never even report a crash.”

Like everything UDOT installs along state routes, cable barrier is crash tested. “Crash testing is really important because we want to make sure it will work the way it’s supposed to – it’s not just a guess,” explains Jones.

Myth 3: Placement of cable barrier is done arbitrarily.

UDOT engineers are very careful to identify appropriate locations for cable barrier, and to install the barrier correctly at those locations. Jones uses crash data to identify appropriate locations for cable barrier.

When it comes to installation at each specific location, placement is “extremely engineered” he explains. Cable barrier is generally most appropriate when installed on “flat or moderately sloped terrain,” according to FHWA. Engineers consider many factors, including how an errant car will react while crossing a slope between travel lanes, the distance from traffic lanes and the quality of the soil.

LIGHTS OUT

The UDOT lighting crew will soon start a systematic re-lamping of the I-15 corridor.

New, better performing sheeting on signs may eliminate the need for active lighting.

Starting a 10600 South in Salt Lake County and working north, soon crews will start working on Sundays to repair and secure areas where vandal have stolen  thousands of feet of copper wire from interstate lighting circuits.  First, High-mast lights, off-ramp lighting then and finally the underpass lighting will be re-lamped.

Overhead sign lighting that is located within areas of continuously lit interstate will not be re-lamped. UDOT is planning replace the sign sheeting on these signs with improved Type 9 or Type 11 retroreflective sheeting which will make active lighting unnecessary.

According to A.J. Kuhrmeyer, Government Transportation Representative with 3M, the FHWA, through the NCHRP, is currently quantifying whether higher-performing retroreflective sheeting is ample enough to eliminate overhead guide sign lighting. There is not currently a definitive study, and removing the lights is left up to the engineer’s judgment.

Kuhrmeyer points out some advantages of eliminating lighting:

  • Reduced maintenance costs and fewer lane closures
  • Improved personal safety since better performing signs are easier to see, faster to read
  • Decreased graffiti with elimination of catwalks in some areas
  • Reduced light pollution

Cost savings

The cost of eliminating lighting varies by location, but some metropolitan areas have enjoyed substantial savings. While not an official published study, the Indiana Department of Transportation eliminated 2oo signs for and anticipated savings of over $80 thousand, according to Kuhrmeyer.

Cost varies on both the energy and labor necessary to maintain overhead guide sign lighting, explains Kuhrmeyer.  State DOTs may save quite a bit when all factors are considered, such as the cost of sending out a crew to change a bulb, traffic control necessary, the per-bulb cost, all multiplied by the vast number of lights in operation.

WILDLIFE CONNECTIVITY

A replacement bridge planned for US-6 will include a much-needed Mule Deer crossing.

Wildlife crossings have helped improve safety on US-6 between Spanish Fork and Price, Utah. Cameras placed at wildlife crossings record still shots and video so researchers can observe wildlife. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Patricia Cramer, USU)

Helping wildlife cross safely will make the important route safer for road users.  The current structure is a box culvert with only enough for a stream. UDOT Structures Design Engineer Mark Daniels says the project involves overcoming a “geometrical challenge.” Designing the bridge with enough vertical clearance to accommodate a stream and a path for wildlife will require raising the elevation of the new road on a new alignment and redirecting the stream at two bends.

The bridge is being replaced as part of a comprehensive effort to improve safety on US-6. In 2005, UDOT received the final Record of Decision that outlined roadway improvements between Spanish Fork and Price, Utah. Since then, UDOT has straightened the road alignment in some locations, replaced bridges and added new wildlife crossings, wildlife fencing, general purpose and passing lanes, concrete barrier, guardrail, centerline and shoulder rumble stripes and warning signs.

UDOT has worked with The US-6 Wildlife Coordination Team throughout the process to improve safety on US-6. The team members come from FHWA, UDOT, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Bureau of Land Management, Uinta National Forest Service, and Utah State University. The team has worked to identify high wildlife-vehicle collision spots and make recommendations for improvements. UDOT has had good success at implementing those recommendations.

Habitat Biologist Doug Sakaguchi with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has helped track high wildlife-vehicle hit areas for the committee since 2005. Data shows fewer hits have occurred in areas where new wildlife crossings have been built and fences have been installed over the past five years. The graph below shows an increase in average wildlife hits near the location where the new bridge will be built.

Experts are optimistic that a new bridge with a wildlife crossing will help reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Crossings and connected fencing work together to direct wildlife through crossings. The jump in wildlife hits shown on the graph is because “deer are finding that section where there’s no fence,” explains Sakaguchi.  He is optimistic that a crossing, in conjunction with fencing, will reduce the wildlife hits at the location. Since the two bridges on either side of the milepost 202 location work well for deer, Sakaguchi thinks that deer won’t be afraid to use the new crossing as well.

UDOT will keep traffic moving during construction by building the new bridge and then switching traffic to the new road alignment and structure before demolishing the old culvert.

THESE GO TO 11

UDOT signs may soon be more retroreflective.

Many freeway signs don’t need active lighting due to the high level of retroreflectivity of sign materials.

Gone are the days when all freeway signs require active lighting to be seen at night. The sheeting material used to face modern signs is highly retroreflective — meaning the light bounces off of the sign right back to the light source. Many freeway signs don’t need active lighting due to the high level of retroreflectivity of sign materials.

UDOT requires that signs be faced with retroreflective Type 9 sheeting. New Type 11 sheeting, which has a higher level of retroreflectivity, can be used. Contractors who bid for UDOT projects can select the most appropriate sheeting for the job.

UDOT uses active lighting on all system to system interchanges and other places where the roadway is complicated or the signs use a lot of text. For example, the I-15 to I-80 interchange in Salt Lake County has active lighting to assist state-to-state motorists. For other locations, UDOT uses active lighting on a case-by-case basis. Motorists who observe lighting fixtures that may not be working as intended should call 801-975-4000 to report the location.

Observations

Retroreflectivity on signs can be diminished over time due to weather, vandalism or other damage. Ongoing evaluation of signs, especially those that have been in place for several years, is important to maintaining safety on UDOT facilities.  At UDOT, maintenance workers conduct inspections as part of an overall plan to make sure signs meet new federal standards.

Visual inspection at night is critical when evaluating how effectively retroreflective signs are doing their job. Signs with small areas of damage may be readable during the day, but “the effect of that damage at night could be huge” says UDOT Operations Design Engineer Wes Starkenburg. For example, a paint ball hit can prevent the reflective material from shining in headlights.

A retroreflectometer can be used to take objective measurements. Several measuring devices are available – some require actual contact with the material being measured.

When signs get too old, worn or damaged, single signs are replaced, but typically UDOT identifies interstate segments where a series of signs could be improved. Replacing signs in a segment gives UDOT the chance to update signs that work together to provide clarity and consistency for road users.

Innovations

UDOT uses materials that have been tested by ASTM International, an organization that tests products to set standards for many industries. Sheeting materials are tested in a lab that’s set up to approximate how road users will see signs at night with headlights. Testers evaluate sheeting attributes including color, gloss, opacity, and texture, and take objective measurements.

2011 UDOT ANNUAL AWARDS

UDOT employees and teams were recognized for excellent job performance.

Dave Babcock, UDOT 2011 Career Achievement Award Recipient

The annual UDOT Conference is an opportunity to honor employees and private sector partners for bringing outstanding projects into existence – projects that that have improved the transportation options for all who use Utah’s highways and byways.

Many men and women have worked to forward UDOT’s, goals and have thereby helped UDOT to continue to lead the way in transportation design, construction and maintenance innovation.

UDOT 2011 Awards, nominees and winners:

Technician of the Year

This award is presented annually to the individual who, in a supportive role, provides superior technical analysis or problem solving skills that significantly advance the efforts of their discipline and Region team.  The nominees for the 2011 Technician of the Year Award are:

  • Stacey Paskett, Region One
  • David Kelley, Region Two
  • Linda Secklestewa, Region Three
  • Lisa Anderson, Region Four
  • And Mark White, of the I-15 CORE project.

The recipient of the 2009 Technician of the Year Award is Mark White, of the I-15 CORE Project!

Mark joined the I-15 Core team last year and has taken on the roles of both Deputy Segment Manager and Paving Manager.  He has an extraordinary breadth of technical experience, including an extensive surveying background.  Mark knows and understands UDOT requirements and is a respected, preeminent resource for all construction-related materials issues, including asphalt binder, portland cement concrete, hot-mix asphalt, and untreated granular materials.  In fact, he has more experience and knowledge of portland cement concrete pavement than almost anyone else in UDOT.

Mark is regularly called on to work through every asphalt and concrete challenge there is – about 1.6 million square yards worth to date, and he has over five million square yards of concrete paving experience.  Additionally, he is asked to help determine the solution to any other materials question, and he has not only met but usually exceeds the lofty expectations placed on him.

It’s for this kind of dedication to his work that Mark White has earned the 2011 Technician of the Year Honors.

Congratulations to Mark White, UDOT Technician of the Year!

2011 UDOT Consultant of the Year

This award is presented to a consulting firm who, in representing UDOT publicly, or working for the agency in some other capacity, went beyond the expected to help energize the public, a project, or project team, and whose efforts provided USOT with extraordinary value and assistance.

Whether it is the management of a construction project, outstanding contracting, design or engineering work, or public involvement-related problem-solving efforts, UDOT relies on a variety of consultants to help us carry our load each year.  This year’s nominees are noteworthy by their accomplishments in the past year. The nominees for 2011 Consultant of the Year are:

  • The construction management division of Stanley Consultants, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Stanley was nominated by Region 1 for their work this past year on the South Layton Interchange, the SR-252/Tenth West Reconstruction in Logan, and the North Ogden Divide project.  In the past, they also played an instrumental role in the I-15 New Ogden-Weber Reconstruction project in Weber County.
  • T-E-A Group, Salt Lake City, Utah, nominated by Region 2 for its expertise in interstate concrete rehabilitation projects, and contract negotiation and scheduling skills.
  • H-D-R Engineering, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Nominated by Region 3, HDR and engineer Jose Luis Rodriguez are highlighted for their design build management, and Diverging Diamond Interchange design work.
  • H.W. Lochner, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Lochner has been nominated by Region 4 for the work of Brent Jensen this past year, and their extensive design and construction experience in transportation and general civil engineering.
  • H-N-T-B, of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Nominated by I-15 CORE project for its work in reviewing the advantages and challenges of various design-build project delivery strategies, their recommendation of procurement approaches for this massive project.

Congratulations to the T-E-A Group! 

T-E-A Group has become an expert at interstate concrete rehabilitation projects, which are completed mostly at night to minimize disruptions to traffic, and are difficult under the best conditions.  Darren Rosenstein and the T-E-A team understands that one of UDOT’s main interests is to minimize disruptions to the traveling public during construction, and they are vigilant in making sure the contractor is only closing lanes during allowed times, and when a lane closure is absolutely necessary.  T-E-A Group is also among the best at negotiating with the contractors and getting a fair price for the work.  While changes are inherent to major construction projects, it takes superior analysis, experience, and negotiation to be able to get a good price, and T-E-A Group has helped saved thousands in change order costs due to their estimating and negotiating skills.

T-E-A Group is very adept at understand project schedules, and keeps a close watch on the quantities being used by contractors to avoid over-runs.  Their quantities tracking system ensures accurate tracking and management of project supplies.   This allows project managers to skillfully manage financial resources, ensuring key project areas have those resources they always need.

Congratulations to TEA Group, UDOT Consultant of the Year!

2011 UDOT Professional of the Year

  • Ryan Halverson, nominated by Region 1
  • Ryan Williams, nominated by Region 2
  • Dale Ashcraft, nominated by Region 3
  • Eric Hansen, nominated by Region 4
  • Frank Pisani, nominated by Systems Planning and Programming.

The recipient of the 2011 Professional of the Year Award is Ryan Williams, nominated by Region 2.

A Utah native, Ryan is a 2005 graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in Business Administration.  Ryan came to UDOT in March of 2008 as a financial analyst, and is a very diligent worker who is vigilant to seek out areas where precious funds can be saved, or where he can be of assistance to others.  Ryan has personally been responsible for several initiatives that have saved over $260,000, showing that he really goes the extra mile for UDOT and the State.

Congratulations to Ryan Williams, UDOT’s 2011 Professional of the Year!

2011 UDOT Team of the Year Award

  • The Region 1 Signals Maintenance Team— Dale Lake, Scott Harris, Dave Townsend and Jeremy Fullmer.
  • Region 2’s Environmental Section, consisting of Becky Stromness, Mason Palmer, Peter Steele and Jennifer Elsken
  • Region 3’s Parker Construction Crew —Manned by Matt Parker, Marco Palacios, Andy Anderson, Kurtis Park, and Mike Rymer
  • Region 4’s Assets Analysts— Mike Blotter and Gale Davis
  • I-15 Corridor Expansion Traffic Management Team— Rob Clayton, Eric Rasband, Glenn Blackwelder, Bryan Chamberlain, Mark Taylor, Grant Jackson, Larry Montoya, Scott Smith, Mike Merkley and Kelly Ash
  • Operation’s Maintenance Innovations and Efficiency Team, consisting of Tim Ularich, Ken Berg, Jessica Andrews, Shauna Lindsey, Lynn Bernhard and Lloyd Neeley

The I-15 CORE’s Traffic Management Team is UDOT’s Team of the Year.

The I-15 CORE Traffic Management Team has formed regional and local partnerships, used intelligent contractor selection, participated in active corridor management, and utilized cutting edge public information efforts to overcome a variety of challenges in ensuring relatively smooth traffic movement while helping to pull off the largest construction project in state of Utah’s history.

Congratulations to all the members of the I-15 CORE Traffic Management Team, UDOT’s 2011 Team of the Year!

2011 UDOT Safety Project of the Year

  • The US-91 Concrete Median Barrier Project, from milepost 14 in Wellsville Canyon to milepost 16 in Mt. Sterling, nominated by Region 1.
  • The I-80 Cable Median Barrier Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The US-189 Provo Canyon Median Improvements Project, nominated by Region 3

The winner of the 2011 UDOT Safety Project of the Year Award is US-189 Provo Canyon Median Improvements Project, nominated by Region 3. 

The US-189 in Provo Canyon median barrier system is designed to effectively catch and contain vehicles that could cross-over the median and cause deadly collisions.  The entire system also allows maintenance personnel to wait until a storm subsides and conditions are safer in order to make repairs. The entire project represents a significant improvement in safety to the benefit of all motorists who will drive this scenic route.

Congratulations to Region Three, for being awarded the UDOT Safety Project of the Year!

Rural Project of the Year

  •  I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation Project, nominated by Region 1
  • The I-80 Summit Park Bridges Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The U.S. 40 Daniel Summit to Soldier Creek Pavement Rehabilitation Project, nominated by Region 3
  • US-191, Milepost 12 to 21 Crack Repair Project, nominated by Region 4

The winner of the 2011 Rural Project of the Year is I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation, nominated by Region 1.

The purpose of this project was very basic: to remove and replace the bridge decks on the twin bridges of Structure F-114, just 8/10ths of a mile east of Taggart in Morgan County.  The Overland Route of the Union Pacific Railroad sees from 18 to 30 trains a day, with trains passing through the project 15 minutes during peak service times.  Additionally, I-84 itself is a heavily traveled truck route. These issues caused several challenges with the construction phasing and scheduling on the project, especially since the project had to come to a fully stop while each train passed through the project limits.

Congratulations to Region One and the I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation Project Team, Winners of the 2011 Rural Project of the Year Award!

2011 Urban Project of the Year

  • The South Layton Interchange Project, nominated by Region 1.
  • The 114th South: State Street to Bangerter Highway and new I-15 Interchange Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The Mountain View Corridor 2100 North Project, nominated by Region 3
  • And the Fast-Fix Concrete Rehabilitation and Replacement project, nominated by Operations

The winner of the 2011 Urban Project of the Year is the South Layton Interchange Project, nominated by Region One.

UDOT Urban Project Winners

Construction of the South Layton Interchange is a Single Point Urban Interchange, valued at $97.5 million, and constructed by Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company. Construction included two major ABC bridge structures built over I-15 in two hydraulic jack-launched sections; and one structure built conventionally over the Union Pacific and UTA FrontRunner rail corridor, incorporating pre-cast deck sections.  Additionally, the project included the complete reconstruction of Layton Main Street.

The project opened to traffic six months ahead of the original schedule, exhibiting the cohesive relationship that existed between the construction team and UDOT. This benefits highway users and will strengthen the economy in this area for years and years to come.

Congratulations to Region One and the South Layton Interchange Project, winner of the 2011 Urban Project of the Year Award!

2011 Engineer of the Year Award

  • Nathan Peterson, nominated by Region 1
  • Lisa Baird, nominated by Region 2
  • Matt Parker, nominated by Region 3
  • Braden Andersen, nominated by Region 4
  • John Butterfield, nominated by the I-15 CORE Project.
  • Matthew Luker, nominated by Operations.
  • And Matt Swapp, nominated by Systems Planning and Programming.

The recipient of the 2011 Engineer of the Year Award is John Butterfield, of the I-15 CORE Project.

John Butterfield, center is the UDOT 2011 Engineer of the Year

John joined UDOT after running a successful construction company focused primarily on concrete placement and finishing, where he developed a very practical common-sense understanding of construction materials.  While working full time at the Department, he obtained his civil engineering degree, and has continued on to become a licensed professional engineer.

John has served as the pavement engineer for the I-15 Reconstruction Project in Salt Lake County, as the Chief Construction Engineer, the Region 2 Materials Engineer, and is currently the Materials and Paving Engineer for the I-15 CORE Project.

With I-15 CORE building about a million dollars of highway per day at a breakneck pace, the materials challenges inherent in any project become even more amplified.   But John’s experience and technical expertise has allowed Provo River Constructors to innovate and provide a high-quality product exceeding UDOT’s standards, while also meeting its demanding timeline.  John has redefined cold-weather paving to better consider the influence of cold subgrade on the curing of concrete, and has established new parameters for Open Graded Base acceptance.  And, he’s done all of this while overseeing the materials testing on the project, aiding the Regions and other projects in their own materials challenges, helping in the development of the new UDOT standards, and continuing to serve as a resource to the construction industry.

In sports, some players simply transcend the team, making contributions so critical on a daily basis that they are not only sought, but truly needed to win.  Like Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball MVP, John Butterfield makes these needed contributions every day.  Because of his tremendous skill and expertise, he could probably receive the UDOT Engineer of the Year award on an annual basis.

Congratulations to John Butterfield, UDOT’s 2011 Engineer of the Year!

2011 UDOT Career Achievement Award

  • Patty Jones, nominated by Region 1
  • Daniel Betts, nominated by Region 2
  • Glen Wahlberg, nominated by Region 3
  • Dave Babcock, nominated by Region 4

The winner of the 2011 Career Achievement Award is Dave Babcock, UDOT Region 4.

Dave grew up in Helper, Utah, a town known for railroads and coal mining. Dave started his career with UDOT 36 years ago as a highway operations specialist at station number 435 at Colton, north of Price on US-6.

Over the years, Dave worked his way up in the Colton shed, eventually becoming Station Supervisor in 1983.  He held this position until 1997, when he became the Area Supervisor responsible for the Colton station and three other maintenance facilities.   In this position, Dave’s many years of maintenance experience have paid off, as he is able to point out many aspects in the design process of projects that made finished product more maintenance friendly.

With Dave’s thorough understanding of maintenance and snow removal, he has been able to suggest many minor adjustments to project designs that resulted in long-term maintenance savings.  He’s also a big believer in value engineering teams, and he’s taught his station supervisors that they have a lot to contribute to project development, and encourages them to actively participate on project teams in their area.

An avid sportsman, Dave is also concerned about ways to help reduce wildlife strikes on state roadways, and one idea he has advocated for is the installation of electric cattle guards in lieu of the traditional double cattle guards. He also designed a delineator-mounted bracket to allow the region’s “Road Work Ahead” signing to be mounted on delineator posts, and saw it through the national crash test process to get it approved to use in daily maintenance operations.

In 2009 Dave became the first Region 4 Fleet Manager. His first goal was to find equipment in Region 4 that was not being utilized, or in failing mechanical condition and getting rid of it. In all, 60 pieces of equipment were removed from the Region 4 fleet, allowing the savings to be used on better equipment. He has initiated an equipment awards program for the Region, and spends many hours inspecting equipment, and rewarding those who are the top in each category.

The new Tie Fork rest area pays homage to the railroad history. Dave grew up around in Helper, and he was instrumental in the development of the theme and layout. Dave also helped design the model locomotive added to the rest area, which bears the number 435.  This little touch is in honor of his first job at old number 435, the Colton Station

Congratulations to Dave Babcock, the recipient of UDOT’s 2011 Career Achievement Award!

TOGETHER WE’RE BETTER

UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras stressed upcoming areas of focus, agency accomplishments, communication and supporting the local business community in a speech at the general session at the UDOT Conference.

Braceras identified two areas of future focus: Signal timing and bridge replacement. A Quality Team evaluation of signals in the state shows that re-timing needs to be done on an ongoing basis have the most beneficial impact on improving traffic flow. To accomplish the benefits of having optimally timed signals, UDOT will combine central signal maintenance and timing operations, and add staff positions to the Traffic Operations Center will augment that effort.

UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras mentioned four projects and praised team members who are guiding the projects to completion – all will be completed on time and under budget

Bridges in the state are in good shape. However, many bridges are reaching their useful life and need to be replaced. Capacity projects have allowed UDOT to replace many bridges, however, 40 to 60 year old bridges still in operation need to be replaced at 50 per year. Many older bridges need significant rehabilitation.

Private sector partnership

UDOT projects impact the local economy by working with 602 companies and over 12 thousand employees. Supporting the local economy through working with private industry will be an central focus of communication efforts and how UDOT works with local businesses during construction.

Notable projects

Braceras mentioned one project for each of four UDOT Regions and praised team members who are guiding the projects to completion – all will be completed on time and under budget.

  • Geneva Road extends and expands a five lane section of roadway in Utah County
  • Ogden 12th Street, Washington to Harrison rehabilitates pavement on the busy arterial.
  • 4100 South and Bangerter Highway, part of the Bangerter 2.0 project group, improves west to east travel in Salt Lake County.
  • Two signals in Moab were completed very quickly and expertly in three months time.

 Communication

Braceras gave an overview of a communication plan in formation – while the work to form the plan is not complete, some good information has been obtained through research conducted among UDOT employees and the general public.

Overall, UDOT enjoys a positive image among members of the general public. People who were questioned see UDOT as innovative, and road users see benefits of work done to improve traffic flow.

Feed back from the general public included good and not-so-good comments. Road users named the Express Pass and the ABC-move-into-place bridges as benefits to travel. Frustrations include too many projects at once, and barrels and cones in place when no apparent work is taking place.

UDOT leaders will use the information obtained to build a communication plan for internal and external use. Employees will be involved in communicating UDOT’s message – to friends, family, neighbors – every one at UDOT will be a communicator. And, since some customer groups have expressed a desire to hear about the good work done by UDOT, more time will be spend bragging, said Braceras.

To support a better communication with employees, Braceras has opened a Twitter account and will tweet regularly. Follow Carlos on Twitter at @carlosudot.

Taking Care of Business

With the addition of a new strategic goal, UDOT will have the opportunity to step back and evaluate what projects mean to the local community. Project Managers, Resident Engineers and all project team members need to understand businesses on the construction corridor during and after construction. Braceras charged the listening audience – largely UDOT employees and private sector partners, to evaluate “everything we do” and think carefully how work can be accomplished more effectively ad efficiently.

MOVE FREEWAY FENDER-BENDERS

Motorists involved in a crash with no injuries should move to the side of the interstate, drive along the emergency lane, stop at the nearest ramp and call 911.

So far this year, 20 troopers have been involved in crashes that have occurred on Utah freeways. "We're working for Zero," says UHP Superintendent Danny Fuhr.

Staying on the freeway after a minor crash is dangerous for the people involved, the traveling public and for Utah Highway Patrol Troopers who respond to help. Last weekend, a trooper’s car was hit and he was nearly killed while responding to a crash.

UDOT Director of Traffic and Safety Robert Hull explains how a minor crash can put others at risk. Hull is working to reduce Utah fatalities to Zero.

With higher traffic volumes on interstates, UHP has seen an increase in secondary crashes caused by traffic congestion following fender benders. Clearing crashed vehicles off the interstates helps prevent a minor crash from turning into a tragedy.

So far this year, 20 troopers have been involved in crashes that have occurred on Utah freeways. “We’re working for Zero,” says UHP Superintendent Danny Fuhr.

UDOT is helping spread the message by placing signs that read “Fender Bender, move vehicles to next exit, call 911.”

Utah Law allows drivers involved in minor crashes to move off of the freeway to the next exit before calling law enforcement.  Moving the vehicle will not affect the determination of fault in the accident.

For more:

Utah Department of Public Safety

ZERO Fatalities

 

WALKERS WIN

The “Walk More in Four” competition gives students a great incentive to walk and bike to school – prizes and improved safety around schools.

Cherissa Wood presents a Taylor Canyon Elementary Student with a helmet and scooter in the Walk More in Four competition

Nearly 4,000 Utah students from 76 schools kept track of the days they walked or biked to school for a chance to win donated prizes for the UDOT Student Neighborhood Access Program’s (SNAP)™ annual “Walk More in Four” statewide competition. To be eligible, students were required to walk or bike to school at least three days each week in September leading up to International Walk to School Day on Wednesday, October 5. Thirty children from around the state won donated bikes, helmets and scooters.

Nationwide, the number of students walking and biking to school has decreased in recent decades. Approximately 50 percent of children in 1969 walked or biked to school. Today, that number has dropped below 15 percent.

UDOT’s SNAP team is dedicated to encouraging kids to “build the habit of walking and biking to school,” says Cherissa Wood, UDOT SNAP Coordinator. Walking or biking reduces traffic around schools and improves safety. Health benefits are also a good reason to go self-propelled.

The competition is a fun way to encourage kids to walk or bike to school. The excitement over the annual event is catching on – over four times as many students participated this year over last year.

Parents can help their children practice safe walking and biking habits by discussing the following safety tips:

• Follow the safest route to school using the school’s SNAP Map (contact the school for a copy).

• Walk with a buddy or group.

• Walk on sidewalks where possible.

• Look left, then right, then left again when crossing a street.

• Cross only at crosswalks. Obey directions from school crossing guards, and walk bikes and scooters across crosswalks.

• Always wear a helmet when riding a bike or scooter. Make sure the helmet has a safety certification and fits properly.

• Wear bright clothing, especially when riding a bicycle or scooter, to make it easier for traffic to see you — or tie a bright handkerchief around your backpack.

• Never walk or ride with headphones. They are distracting and keep you from hearing traffic.

More tips and resources are available to parents and school administrators on the SNAP website.

About SNAP

The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)™ is a fun and comprehensive program for walking and biking safely to school that engages and educates students, parents, school administrators, crossing guards and communities. As part of the federal Safe Routes to School program administered by UDOT, SNAP focuses on student safety as its first priority. SNAP provides free resources, including mapping software, a 35-minute musical assembly and DVD, student activity booklets and teacher lesson plans, to assist in getting more students walking and biking safely to school. More information about SNAP is available at udot.utah.gov/snap or by contacting Utah’s Safe Routes to School Coordinator, Cherissa Wood, at 801-965-4486 or cwood@utah.gov.

WINTER SAFETY

Utah storms are on the weather horizon and road users need to be prepared for driving on icy, snowy roads.  

An Incident Management Truck worker warns motorists of a crash in Provo Canyon

UDOT keeps state roads as safe as possible during storms. Do your part by driving the appropriate speed, monitoring traffic conditions, driving with care around snow plows and adjusting trip plans whenever possible.

Drive for Zero Fatalities

In any weather, drowsy, distracted, aggressive or impaired driving is unsafe. Icy or snow packed roads are especially unforgiving, so a heightened level of attention is required. Sometimes drivers don’t adjust speed to conditions. According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, Highway Safety office crash data report “speed is the leading unsafe driving behavior that contributes to deaths.”

High speeds extend the distance necessary to stop, reduce a drivers’ ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the road and reduce vehicle stability. Mix high speed with ice and snow and tragedy can quickly result.

CommuterLink

UDOT’s CommuterLink website is a great resource for road users. It’s a good idea to bookmark the site and check road conditions before you leave on your commute or errand. The site integrates camera views and information about accidents and traffic delay on an interactive map. Users can take a virtual look at the ride through the storm to anticipate conditions like ice or snow on the road or crashes that slow traffic.  Better yet – avoid delay altogether by taking an alternate route or adjusting travel time.

Stay safe around snow plows

  • Motorists should always slow down and travel about a football field’s length behind snowplows to increase highway safety for all drivers.
  • Following a snowplow too closely often results in broken windshields or damaged paint caused by salt or abrasives being distributed on highways.
  • Drivers should use extreme caution when passing a snowplow and never pass on the right side or use the shoulder to pass. Drivers should watch for snowplows equipped with wing plows, which can extend several feet off either side.

Other things to remember:

  • Bridges freeze first. Ambient air temperature cools the bridge from both sides. On the road itself, “the ground holds the heat,” says Rich Clarke, UDOT Maintenance Operations Engineer. So, pavement on a bridge can be icy while road pavement on either side can be wet.
  • Ice can be very difficult to detect.  A thin layer of water on pavement “can change from wet to ice in a moment,” says Clarke. Visually distinguishing unfrozen water from black ice while driving is extremely difficult if not impossible.
  • If you can, stay home during the first part of a storm. Plow operators clear the road as quickly as possible. “The first hour of a storm can be the most treacherous,” since a vigorous storm can cover roads quickly, explains Lynn Burnhard, UDOT Maintenance Methods Engineer. Delaying your departure gives UDOT a chance to clear the roads.
  • Don’t make weather assumptions.  “Be careful not to generalize,” when it comes to storms cautions meteorologist Joel Dreessen who works with UDOT. Since the storms vary greatly in temperature and duration in Utah, it’s very difficult to know what kind of winter conditions to expect. Utah can get hit with a heavy snow storm followed by sun. While the roads may look clear after such a weather event, a quick drop in temperature can turn melted snow to ice.  A very cold storm can cause road water and snow to glaze quickly.  So, even a storm that appears to be light can in reality can create very hazardous conditions.

Be careful out there!