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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!

SNAP AWARD

AASHTO praises UDOT for encouraging kids to walk and bike safely to and from school.

The AASHTO President’s Transportation Award for Highway Traffic Safety has been given to UDOT’s Student Neighborhood Access Program team.

UDOT’s  SNAP  team has been helping elementary and junior high schools identify safe routes to schools for four years. The program provides free web-based software that produces area specific printable maps that identify safe routes. Encouraging kids to safely walk or bike to school helps reduce automobile traffic around schools and improves safety. Walking and biking also provides great health benefits for kids. Seventy four percent of schools in Utah use SNAP software.

Not all schools are surrounded by sidewalks. When funding is available, the SNAP team helps schools identify and obtain funding to build sidewalks in critical areas.

The SNAP team sponsors a fun assembly with catchy music and dancing. The program has been so popular that the team made a video of the assembly so the safe walking and biking message could get to more students in Utah.

SNAP also sponsors an annual event called “Walk More in Four” that encourages kids to bike or walk to school at least 60 percent of the time in a four week period. Schools and students are awarded prizes for participation.

 

SAFE THINKING

UDOT grade school assemblies encourage safety around heavy equipment and construction zones.

Kids learn about hazards associated with road work in a mock construction zone

Mammoth earth movers, diggers or pavers are intriguing to kids but not safe as jungle gyms. The construction zones where road work takes place can be full of hazards too. UDOT has developed a fun way to communicate with children about how important it is to stay away from construction equipment and work zones. School assemblies that mix activities with a serious message are teaching kids to “Think Safety.”

“We coordinated with the Think Safety campaign, which is part of the Zero Fatalities effort, to do an assembly at several schools for the Bangerter 2.0 project,” says Justin Smart who works with UDOT.  Four large elementary schools are near the project.

Lora Hudson helped develop the assembly. She and others have presented about 20 assemblies associated with Bangerter 2.0 and other construction projects near schools. Hudson takes a kid-friendly approach that prompts interest and awe. For example, a giant banner with a true-to-size truck tire and measuring tape shows how big construction equipment can really be. Sometimes Hudson invites a tiny kindergartner or a very tall student to step up to the measuring tape. The students and teachers are surprised to see how miniature a young child looks, and that an older child “is not so tall compared to a truck.”

Tag team with construction workers

Hudson makes sure children learn about specific dangers. A project worker attends the assembly too, and describes real, hazards like trenches, steel bars, nails and debris. Hudson says kids often react with surprise when hearing the real reasons zones are dangerous.

To bring the message home, a few kids get to navigate a mock construction zone relay race dressed in safety gear while classmates cheer on. All draw on newly acquired “Think Safety” knowledge. “They love it,” says Hudson. At the end of the assembly, students get a coloring page to take home as a reminder.

Columbia Elementary Principal Kathe Riding thought the assembly was very informative for students. “Our students enjoyed the competitions and activities as they learned to watch out for dangers and how to be safe near construction.” Riding is grateful to UDOT for being proactive in keeping kids safe.

INNOVATIVE INTEGRATION

Combining two safety countermeasures is preventing cross-over crashes and keeping cable barrier up to do its important job.

Cable barrier and guardrail on I-84

Cable barrier and guard rail are ubiquitous on interstates and highways across the nation. But, UDOT’s innovative integration of those two safety countermeasures is only being used in Utah.

Cable barrier is tensioned steel cable held up by break-away posts. When installed properly between opposing traffic lanes, cable barrier prevents crossover collisions and saves lives, so keeping cable barrier up and functional is critical. If a vehicle hits the break-away posts or the anchor point where cable is tensioned, the posts can fall and lower the cable or the cable can lose tension. After such a hit, fully repairing the cable barrier can be an extensive and expensive effort.

UDOT Safety Specialist Glenn Schulte has conducted cable barrier and guard rail installation and repair training for contractors and maintenance workers for seventeen years. The “one-bad-hit” issue has been effectively addressed by Schulte, an engineer FHWA and cable barrier vendor from Washington state.

Rough sketch

Schulte and his two associates came up with an idea – why not integrate guardrail with the cable barrier system at the point where a vehicle hit can make the cable lose tension? Schulte and friends discussed the idea and did some initial problems solving. A quick sketch on paper, and the idea took flight.

Schulte took on the responsibility for developing standard drawings at UDOT and getting FHWA approval. The Cable W-Beam Anchor System uses guardrail, crash cushion or end treatments and a secondary anchor. The system protects the area where cable is tensioned and anchored from being damaged by a crash. UDOT contractors can choose from proprietary and non-proprietary components commonly available and crash tested for safety to assemble a system that’s appropriate for a specific location.

The system was first used on Bangerter Highway. Since inception and first use, many changes and improvements have been made. Now the innovative system that was first a rough pencil sketch is a common and significant safety feature all over Utah. Schulte has sent standard drawings to other states for use, and he expects the system to be more widely used as transportation officials see the value of the system.

These slides show how the Cable W-Beam System protected cable barrier during a crash.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

RURAL ROADS

UDOT works with local governments to improve rural road safety.

Rural roads in Utah are often unpaved, like this road in Beaver, Utah.

In Utah and across the nation, improving safety on rural roads can be difficult for local governments and departments of transportation. Vast stretches of isolated roadway challenge drivers to stay alert. Funding for improvements to local roads off the state system can be scarce.  The federal government has charged state departments of transportation to tackle safety issues by establishing the High Risk Rural Roads program.

Except for the urban areas concentrated along Interstate 15 between Ogden and Provo, Utah is rural. The rural roads in Utah have many of typical characteristics as rural roads in other states. However, Utah has a greater percentage of rural roads on the state road system, making investigating, budgeting and improving rural road safety easier.  UDOT works with local governments to improve rural roads that are not on the state system.

First, UDOT engineers conduct a safety audit by driving rural roads and looking out for known safety hazzards. Then, UDOT works with local governments to make changes that improve safety. Some of the most common improvements include:

  • Installing safety barrier on a curve to protect motorists run off the road crashes
  • Cutting rumble strips into the pavement on the side or middle of the road to signal motorists when tires cross lane lines
  • Installing median barrier to prevent cross-over collisions
  • Clearing obstructions from the road side to improve visibility
  • Installing warning signs or delineators to mark the shoulder
  • Widening intersections and adding turn lanes

UDOT took a public education approach to safety on I-80 between Wendover and Tooele County. Tired, distracted drivers were involved in run off the road crashes on the long, barren stretch of freeway. Signs that warn drivers about the dangers of distracted driving were placed on the route. After some time, UDOT surveyed drivers at the rest area on I-80 and found that most saw and read the signs. While not a safety improvement per se, the signs were shown to increase awareness of drowsy driving as a potential crash factor.

Improving safety on rural roads is part of UDOT’s Zero Fatalities Comprehensive Safety Plan aimed at reducing fatalities to zero on all roads.

QUALITY CONCRETE

The I-15 CORE project team does its homework before placing concrete.

A concrete curing/tinning machine on the I-15 CORE project.

At a month past the half-way point, workers on the Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion project have placed over 1.7 million square yards of concrete. “Since concrete pavement is smooth, requires less maintenance and resists potholes, it’s often a good choice on high-volume roads,” explains John Butterfield, UDOT Materials/Pavement Engineer for the project. But regardless of pavement type, “the main thing that drives pavement design is traffic.” I-15 CORE pavement is built for longevity and strength.

During the bidding process, UDOT asked for 30-year pavement. Provo River Constructors included a 40-year pavement design as a value-added feature in their winning proposal. The entire pavement section, bottom to top, consists of four layers: granular borrow, drainable granular borrow, asphalt base and 12 inches of Portland Cement Concrete Pavement on top. Together, the layers in the pavement achieve a structural value that is predicted from the road’s expected traffic volume.

Making sure the top layer of concrete meets final acceptance — and lasts that expected 40 years — starts with an understanding of how the specific concrete mix design will cure. For that important task, the I-15 CORE project team uses maturity meters — electronic sensors embedded in concrete and handheld readers. Using maturity meters has become standard practice in the building construction industry and is common in road construction.

Do the math

Before concrete is placed on the I-15 CORE project, “there is some homework that’s required,” says Butterfield, who explains the process. Because the compressive strength of a specific concrete mix design has a relationship to time and temperature, a maturity curve that shows that relationship can be charted. When inserted into core cylinders, maturity meters can be connected to a reader to access information on time and temperature, making the process very precise.

Data is collected by casting concrete cylinder samples and tracking the time and temperature of the concrete as it cures and gains strength. Then, the cylinders are broken at pre-set intervals to determine compressive strength, and that data is recorded and correlated to the time and temperature data.

Progressing work or allowing traffic on the pavement

Once data is collected and plotted, the “homework” maturity curve becomes an appropriate basis to measure the strength of in-place concrete. Workers assess concrete strength simply by taking a quick electronic reading in the field from data loggers embedded in the pavement. When the correct concrete strength is reached, work can progress or traffic can be allowed on the pavement.

For final acceptance, traditional cast cylinders made from the same batch as in-place concrete are still broken to measure 28 day compressive strength. However, for determining interim strength for the purpose of progressing subsequent work, maturity meters are a more efficient, precise and less expensive method than casting and breaking several additional cylinders.

“One of the greatest benefits of maturity meters is that they provide the strength of the actual ‘in-place’ concrete,” Butterfield says. “We no longer have to break cylinders, either lab-cured or field-cured, and speculate how closely they correlate with the strength of the actual structure.”