The extensive and careful work done in the Body Shop and Heavy Equipment Shop prolongs the life UDOT’s fleet and conserves funding.


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Mechanics and auto-body workers at UDOT are getting heavy equipment ready for winter. Even though last winter was relatively mild, workers in the shop have plenty to do. With around forty two hundred pieces of heavy equipment in the fleet, work is non-stop.

“Right now, we are doing the things we can’t do in the winter,” says Steve McCarthy, UDOT’s Fleet Manager. By mid September, “mountain areas can get snow any time.” His crew is working with maintenance station supervisors to make sure each crew has the equipment needed to remove snow and ice.

UDOT’s fleet is valued at about $200 million, a significant investment of taxpayer money. Besides repairing fleet vehicles, strategies are being employed to conserve funding and work as efficiently as possible by:

  • Keeping fleet vehicles longer; most are kept between sixteen and eighteen years and some up to twenty.
  • Purchasing trucks with larger motors and tag axles that can handle tow plows and adding wing plows to the 10-wheeler fleet. Tow plows and wing plows remove a wider swath of snow from the roadway and boost efficiency.
  • Using larger sanders to spread de‐icing materials and applying brine, high performing salts and other liquid anti‐icing solutions to remove snow and ice more efficiently.
  • Leasing or renting some heavy equipment which can save repair costs while employing new more efficient technology.

By employing smart fleet strategies, UDOT has been able to maintain high performance standards and eliminate the need to purchase 25 percent more equipment.

Newly trained mechanics are getting work experience at UDOT.

Raymond Bentor, Job Corps Intern at UDOT, rebuilds the a rear suspension in the heavy-duty shop.

Job Corps students that have reached the end of their training program need real-world work experience before they begin their careers. Two young mechanics are getting that opportunity at UDOT’s Central Heavy Duty Shop where they serve as interns. For those interns and the UDOT mechanics that provide supervision, the experience has been very positive.

The success of the UDOT-Job Corps association is due to the excellent training program at Job Corps and the variety and complexity of the work load at Central Maintenance. “Their training is really top notch,” says Rod Andrews, UDOT Heavy Duty Shop Supervisor.  The trainees come to the site ready to do more than busy-work and can be assigned to a variety of big or small tasks. “You find that they fill a little niche that you need,” says Andrews.

Johnnie Brandt removed the transmission from this road grader. “I don’t like just standing around,” says Brandt.

Intern Johnnie Brandt says he is ready and willing to do anything he can get his hands on. “I don’t like just standing around,” says Brandt.  He works with all the mechanics at UDOT to quickly move repair jobs through to completion. Brandt has done jobs ranging from changing oil to removing a transmission from a road grader.

UDOT’s shop is great for providing diverse work experiences.  “Just look at the variety of stuff we have in this shop,” says John Service, UDOT Journeyman Mechanic, as he points to the assortment of heavy equipment undergoing repair. Service has worked closely with Brandt and appreciates his great attitude and willingness to learn.

Intern Raymond Benter has been at other work sites besides UDOT’s shop. He says moving from site to site helps build his skill sets, learn to adapt and “really know what it’s like to work.”

Benter is willing to “get right in there and do his job,” says Truck Shop Supervisor Jeff McCleery. “He’s willing to learn, listen and he has a good skill level and good attitude.”

Interns will spend about six weeks at UDOT before moving to another work site.

A new national performance metric will help fleet managers make decisions about retaining core equipment.

Departments of transportation are facing many of the same issues, including limited budgets, new emissions and mileage regulations and the need to manage life-cycle costs. At the same time, equipment costs are increasing, making it challenging for departments of transportation to replace aging vehicles.

AASHTO’s Equipment Management Technical Services Program recently sponsored the First National Equipment Fleet Management Conference. The event brought experts together to share the best practices from the nation’s departments of transportation. An important outcome of the conference is the development of a national metric that will provide “a high-level snapshot” of how departments of transportation are managing equipment life cycles, according to a problem statement issued by the EMTSP.

Departments of transportation are facing many of the same issues, including limited budgets, new emissions and mileage regulations and the need to manage life-cycle costs. At the same time, equipment costs are increasing, making it challenging for departments of transportation to replace aging vehicles.

UDOT’s Fleet Manager Steve McCarthy is the Vice Chair of the EMTSP. He attended the conference, participated in development of the metric, and is optimistic about what the metric data will provide over time — “more data about whether or when to replace equipment.”

The metric identifies and tracks fleet utilization standards, preventative maintenance compliance, and fleet availability. Departments of transportation from across the nation have different standards and practices. Using one metric to collect data across the nation will help departments of transportation compare agency against agency and identify the most effective strategies for managing fleet life cycles.

The EMTSP is already a resource for best practices and a clearing house for comprehensive, up‐to‐date information about fleet management. With data from the new metric, departments of transportation should be able to further fine tune fleet performance to effectively review life cycle costs, develop funding requests based on real-world needs and readily identify best-practice methods.

September 11th, 2012

REGIONS TAKE THE REINS

No Comments, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

Change at Central Maintenance is aimed at giving the four UDOT Regions an expanded role in setting the direction of maintenance functions.

Regional maintenance station personnel do the work to preserve the transportation system. Here, workers repair a longitudinal crack in asphalt pavement. Many maintenance workers have decades of accrued knowledge about area roads, structures, and even typical weather patterns.

Soon after taking charge in early 2012, Central Maintenance Director Kevin Griffin named two Deputies.  Method Engineers Tim Ularich and Shana Lindsey have been given the responsibility to spend more time working closely with the regions. Region personnel are the ones directly responsible for maintaining the state transportation system.

Ularich and Lindsay are part of a cultural shift at Central Maintenance that will let regions take a larger role in developing innovations, setting performance standards, and deciding on budget distributions.

Giving the regions more say makes sense – after all, regional maintenance station personnel work to preserve the transportation system and perform core functions like snow and ice removal.  Many maintenance workers have decades of accrued knowledge about area roads, structures, and even typical weather patterns.

Tim Ularich, Ken Berg, Jessica Andrews, Shana Lindsey, Lynn Bernhard, Lloyd Neeley.

That institutional expertise can be valuable if tapped. Each year, Central Maintenance conducts method studies that investigate new or better technologies. Those studies have typically been developed at the central level. Ularich says he and Lindsey will spend face time getting the region’s take on what is needed. “Then, we’ll bring it back and implement the studies.”

The role of the two deputies will not be limited to the method study process. Lindsey says she and Ularich are on hand for anything, including obtaining standards and specifications, putting contracts in place and procuring materials – “we are coordinating that help.” Both deputies know the UDOT organization and can provide adept support. Central’s role will be to insure consistency across the state, she explains.

Regions will also play a larger part in determining performance standards. And that new role will come with commensurate responsibility; each region will be accountable for the performance of its maintenance crews.

Along with organizational and process changes, two web-based tools are being developed to help the regions. A Performance Dashboard will show performance measures in real time and a procurement system will help maintenance crews acquire necessities, like plow blades and sand, more easily.

The new direction at Central Maintenance will help the regions “achieve the departments goals” with the help and guidance of Central Maintenance says Griffin. “We’re not going to tell them how to do their work; we’re here to work with the regions to set performance standards and to support them.”

September 7th, 2012

FEATURING FLICKR

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT’s Communication Office uses Flickr to share photos of the state transportation system. 


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Flickr is an easy to use photo platform that provides a way to share visual essays of how UDOT improves the state transportation system.  UDOT’s Flickr photostream contains images of media events, conferences, construction and maintenance projects and equipment.

One great feature of Flickr is that photos can be arranged in ordered sets with captions. Those sets can explain a process or show progress on a construction project. For example, this set contains images of the Telegraph Street Bridge replacement in St. George.

Flickr also integrates well with other forms of social media. Slide shows on the UDOT Blog are Flickr sets. Links to photos or photo sets are easy to share by email.

The UDOT Communications Office would like to expand the use of Flickr to include a wider range of photos from across the state so a variety of UDOT activities can be shared among employees, private sector partners, media and the general public.

Send in your photos

Here are some general guidelines for sending in photos:

  • Make sure the images are high quality JPEG images that are 1200 x 800 pixels.
  • For subject ideas, choose subject matter that shows UDOT’s four areas of focus: Improve Safety, Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure and Strengthen the Economy.
  • Show candid shots of events or work processes. Real life scenes are the most interesting.
  • Take photos from different perspectives to get a good overall view of an event or construction or maintenance project.
  • Send in photos taken recently.
  • Send in a series of photos or a single photo.
  • Anyone can send in photos as long as the subject relates to UDOT.
  • Photos will be used on Flickr at the discretion of the UDOT Communications Office.

Photos can be sent by email or delivered on a disk or other storage device to the Communications Office at the Calvin Rampton Complex. Please include photo descriptions and your contact information.

September 6th, 2012

OUT OF SIGHT

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

I-15 CORE project concrete drainage pipes were installed under the freeway without shutting down traffic lanes. 

Provo River Constructors installed drainage pipe using by using augers or a tunneling machine with a cutting head to excavate under the freeway while lanes stayed open.

Some of the ways UDOT keeps lanes open during construction are easy to see – for example lane shifts that allow work to occur safely next to traffic. And, UDOT is famous for moving already-built bridges into place. But some lane-saving construction takes place out of the public eye.

The I-15 CORE contractor, Provo River Constructors, used a method of installing drainage pipe that avoids open cuts that require lane closures. Called jacked pipe, the system uses augers or a tunnel boring machine with a cutting head to excavate under the freeway while simultaneously pushing pipe segments through to the other side. I-15 CORE recently won a Project Achievement Award from the Concrete Pipe Association for the jacked pipe installation.

Minger Construction of Chanhassen, Minnesota installed over two miles of pre-cast reinforced jacked pipe. The innovative construction methods used by the sub-contractor made for accurate and efficient installation.

Additionally, the project used long -rebar as reinforcement in small-gauge pipe, which is not common. “The rebar keeps the pipe straight,” according to Randy Whalen, Marketing Engineer of Oldcastle Precast, producer of the pipe. Keeping pipe “dimensionally accurate,” is more critical with smaller pipe since “pipe that is even one eight inch off can induce a curve.”

Given the maintenance of traffic constraints coupled with the aggressive schedule, the process of jacking pipe under the freeway was very important to the overall project. Provo River Constructors was required by UDOT to keep traffic lanes open during construction, explains Robert Stewart, I-15 CORE Deputy Project Director. “I don’t think you could have built this project without jacking and boring.”

For a more detailed description of jacked pipe construction methods, read an article posted by Concretepipe.org. Scroll down to the previous post to see a slide show of the work on the I-15 CORE project.

September 5th, 2012

JACKING PIPE

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

These slides show pipe jacking operations on the I-15 CORE project.

Concrete drainage pipes were installed under the freeway using a augers or a tunnel boring machine to excavate. Pipes were then pushed through segment by segment to the other side.

To see photo descriptions, click the large image. To select images, place the cursor in the black portion at the bottom of the show.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

August 31st, 2012

WALK MORE 2012

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

The “Walk More in Four” challenge offers the chance for schools to win $500,
and for students to win bikes and scooters.

The UDOT Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)™ is a fun and comprehensive program for walking and biking safely to school

Any parent who has a school aged child has probably observed traffic congestion around a school drop-off point.  Too many cars can increase the risk of fender-benders and make watching out for pedestrians and cyclists more difficult.

UDOT’s Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP)™ “Walk More in Four” challenge is an annual month-long event designed to encourage more Utah K-8 students to walk or bike safely to school at least three days each week during the month of September. This is the fourth Walk More in Four event, and the messages of the campaign seem to be reaching Utah students according to Cherissa Wood, UDOT SNAP Coordinator.

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.

And, student participation in Walk More in Four is increasing. About 1000 participated statewide during the first two years. Last year, that number shot up to 4000. Wood expects that more students will chose to take part in the 2012 Walk More in Four promotion.

To participate, students should track their trips to school by using the Walk More in Four progress chart. Each student who turns in a completed chart by Wednesday, October 3 will be eligible for a chance to win prizes including helmets, bikes and scooters.

The school with the highest percentage of participating students will win $5oo for its safety committee, along with The Golden Tennis Shoe traveling trophy. To participate, schools must register by September 7 by visiting the  SNAP website.

SNAP is a fun and comprehensive program 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.

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


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

August 30th, 2012

CULVERT DATA PROJECT

1 Comment, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

A four-year project to collect data on all UDOT-owned culverts shows that most are being well cared for by maintenance workers.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Since 2009, Jessica Andrews has been involved in the process of collecting baseline data on over 25 thousand cross-cut culverts that direct water under roadways. Andrews’ involvement started when she joined the project as college engineering summer intern. After one year, she led the program under direction of Lynn Bernhard, UDOT Maintenance Methods Engineer. The project is nearing completion.

The goal of the project is to view and record data on all culverts, then to develop a central database that can be used by anyone at UDOT. Culverts are critical to roadway health. “The water has to go somewhere,” explains Andrews. If a culvert fails, water can excavate soil from under the roadway, leaving the pavement with no support.

Collection process

The program deployed summer interns all over the state to collect data. Interns visited each culvert location and recorded details including the GPS location, route, nearest milepost, condition, estimated amount of sediment in the culvert, fill above and sometimes pavement condition in the case of a damaged culvert. Interns took about five photos of each culvert showing the inlet, outlet, barrel and pavement above.

Each culvert was given a rating between 0 and 9, with 0 through 2 representing poor culverts.  Only ten to 15 percent of culverts state-wide were rated poor and in need of attention soon. The overall good condition of culverts shows that maintenance workers are doing a  great job of maintaining culverts in their areas.

During the four year effort, many improvements were made to the collection process. Better GPS equipment helped pinpoint exact locations. The interns recorded all information by hand the first year. Later, a handheld data recorder with an app tailored to UDOT’s needs made data collection more accurate. Finding the location of culverts was made easier when the project truck was equipped with a Distance Measuring Instrument.

Expect the unexpected

Interns encountered some surprises along the way. “We saw a lot of animals, both dead and alive,” says Andrews. Snakes, badgers and the glowing eyes of unidentified animals show up in project photos. Some culverts were very interesting to view, such as giant culverts blasted out of red rock in southern Utah and wood culverts under I-80 in the desert west of Salt Lake City.

Success!

With only one-hundred miles of roadway to go, Andrews says the collection effort will be complete by the time the summer interns go back to school. The database is already serving as an important big picture view of culvert health and a decision making tool at UDOT.

Region Four Area Supervisor Patrick McGann has used the database to prioritize culvert rehabilitation. “The culvert database project that Jessica is working on is very helpful because it gives an estimated height of fill over culverts,” says McGann.  “This is good to know because rusted, deteriorating culverts that are deeply buried move to the top of the priority list because if a deep pipe fails, it is more expensive to excavate and replace than a failed culvert that does not have as much cover over it.”

Andrews shares credit for the projects with others. ” The success of this project can be largely attributed to our hardworking summer interns and the help and cooperation of our maintenance station personnel.”

The data can be viewed by logging in to ARC-GIS. Andrews is working with UDOT GIS Manager Frank Pisani to integrate the database into UPlan.

August 29th, 2012

GET A GRIP

No Comments, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT is implementing a Quality Management Plan to prevent stripping and improve the durability of asphalt pavement.

In hot mix asphalt pavement, stripping occurs when the asphalt does not adhere well to the aggregate. The result of stripping is pavement that crumbles under the wear and tear of traffic and weather.

Howard Anderson, left, and Clark Allen, manager of UDOT's central lab stand near Hamburg Wheel Tracking equipment

UDOT requires hot mix plants to add lime to the asphalt mix. Lime works as a bonding agent so the asphalt sticks to the aggregate. In the mixing process, the lime is combined with a precise amount of water to make slurry, blended with the aggregate, and then heat-dried before the treated aggregate is mixed hot with the asphalt binder.

Lime added correctly prevents stripping and makes the pavement more durable, especially during the winter and early spring when the freeze-thaw cycle takes its toll, according to Howard Anderson, UDOT Quality Assurance and Aggregate Engineer. Added incorrectly, the pavement is at risk for stripping.

Anderson has been working with Kevin VanFrank, UDOT Engineer for Asphalt Materials, Kleinfelder and Tim Biel of CME to develop a comprehensive plan to ensure that the correct lime-water slurry is used in the mix design.

UDOT’s QMP

When the QMP is fully implemented, UDOT will only accept HMA from certified plants that keep records documenting their processes.  UDOT has also recently required the contractor to use their own Hamburg Wheel Tracking equipment to check their HMA mix designs.  This change allows the region Hamburg Wheel Tracking equipment to be used on field produced material to insure a quality material is delivered to the pavement.

The ultimate goal of the QMP is to extend the life of HMA pavement which is one important way UDOT uses funding efficiently to provide good value to the public.