Whether you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on green, the traffic signal is one invention that revolutionized the world. And because of that, Google has taken to honor the anniversary of the first installation with a “doodle”.
August 5, 2015′s Google Doodle
On August 5, 1914, the first traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, on the corner of 59th and Euclid. With 20,000 cars being sold per month in 1914, and horse-drawn wagons, street cars, and carts still in play, city streets in America were woefully congested, and a need arose for traffic management. Police used to stand in the middle of intersections and wave their arms to control traffic, and just before the turn of the century, England tried a gas-lit stoplight, but they had a tendency to explode.
But what does that have to do with Utah?
One of the solutions to the traffic management problem came when Lester Wire — a Salt Lake City policeman — created a traffic light out of a hand-made wooden box that had red and green lights whose wires were attached to light wires above. Right in the Beehive State, a solution was born.
This replica of Lester Wire’s first traffic light greets visitors to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
We’ve come a long way since 1914, and UDOT is proud of what our employees at the Traffic Operations Center have done to create a state-of-the-art traffic management system. Instead of mechanical lights and wooden boxes, we use sophisticated computers that gather traffic and weather data to manage 60% of the 1,927 traffic lights statewide. We use that information to give you the best data, sent right to your smart phone, and we also have one of the few in-house DOT weather rooms, staffed with two full-time meteorologists and 8 weather professionals.
Next time you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on a green light, you can thank a fellow Utahn for coming up with a traffic solution. Thank you, Google, for giving us a chance to walk down memory lane!
The Utah Department of Transportation’s Mountain View Corridor (MVC) project celebrated an innovative partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas on Tuesday, June 16. Representatives from the utility companies, team members from MVC and UDOT management were in attendance. Remarks were given by Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director; Sharon Seppi; Rocky Mountain Power; Bob Checketts, Kern River Gas; and Shane Marshall, UDOT Deputy Director.
UDOT, Kern River and Rocky Mountain Power have been on working on relocating utility lines in preparation for construction to begin on the new roadway from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City, in the Spring of 2016. This included installing 5 miles of 36” diameter natural gas pipelines, 52 transmission line poles (345kv and 138kv).
Since the project began, there were few that imagined such extensive utility work could be completed and coordinated so seamlessly. However, this partnering celebration took place because of the excellent cooperation of all parties involved.
“This is a model for how transportation agencies like UDOT and utility companies can work together,” said Checketts, Vice President of Operations at Kern River Gas. He further explained that this partnership has now set the precedent for how Kern River is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) on another project.
A pin was created in commemoration and was given to all participants symbolizing the partnership between Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas with UDOT.
Mountain View Corridor currently has two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South and will eventually extend to S.R. 201 in Salt Lake County.
OREM — He stood there, shielded from the blistering heat, surrounded by buddies on the paint crew he works on. Executive Director Carlos Braceras had come to pay him a visit, and deliver congratulations straight from the Governor of Utah himself. For Region Three’s Mike Sabey, though, he would have much rather been outside painting lines on a road.
Recently, Sabey completed 50 years on the job at the Utah Department of Transportation — a golden anniversary no employee at UDOT has ever achieved. It was for that reason that Braceras, Deputy Director Shane Marshall, Region Three director Terri Newell and others had come to celebrate: five decades working on Utah roads.
“This is phenomenal. I don’t even know what to say,” Sabey said as he was presented with his award.
Mike Sabey (middle) with his paint crew
A lot was happening back in 1965: the space race was at a fever pitch, and American soldiers were on the ground in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a brave march to Selma, Ala., which brought about the Voting Rights Act, while race riots ripped through Watts, Calif. Oh, and Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston in one round.
In 1965, Hillary Rodham was a senior in high school, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 17-year-old kid named Lew Alcindor. Winston Churchill died, JK Rowling was born, and Lyndon Johnson became president.
While all this was going on, Mike Sabey was beginning a career at UDOT.
A Utah County native, Mike left his station attendant job at Premoco Gas Station in Lehi to come to UDOT. On May 17, 1965, he was hired as a Light Equipment Operator at Shed 17 in Lehi, where Sabey says he was a “highway weed whacker”. Since then, he’s performed jut about every task in Region Three. He spent 29 years working various jobs in Lehi, and then south to the Provo/Orem area, where he’s spent the last few years on the paint crew. Mike said he joined the paint crew in order to “try something different”, a motto he’s lived by his entire career.
Executive Director Carlos Braceras honors Mike Sabey after 50 years with UDOT.
Sabey’s peers say he is the first to give up personal priorities — whether it’s a vacation, a hunt, or even a doctor appointment — because he knows “my guys are counting on me.” He tends to rearrange his life to get a project finished, and is known throughout Region Three as someone who can fix just about anything.
Sabey said the key to his longevity was proper safety and a little bit of luck: in his time at the Department, Mike has never been in an accident caused by him.
Mike Sabey’s award from Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox
State projects win in “Quality of Life”, “Under Budget” categories
BOISE, Idaho — Dedication and understanding of the impact state-controlled roads have on motorists in Utah was recognized today, as UDOT projects in Southern Utah and Northern Utah garnered two regional awards in the 2015 America’s Transportation Awards competition.
UDOT’s Bluff Street at Southern Hills Parkway Interchangewas recognized in the Quality of Life/Community Development category, which recognizes “a transportation project that has contributed to the general quality of life and economic development of local communities. These innovative projects better connect people to businesses, jobs, health care facilities, and recreational activities while encouraging a mix of transportation modes. “ With comfortable weather and access to many outdoor activities and destinations, the largest city in Region Four provides so much of what St. George and Washington County residents who value quality of life are looking for.
So many new residents have come to the area seeking this quality of life that existing transportation infrastructure has been over-taxed. Nearly 43,000 cars travel along Bluff Street (SR-18) each day, and another 13,700 go through Red Hills Parkway. The clash of rural vs. urban can best be seen here, where a state highway suddenly becomes a city road where many cyclists and runners converge to get to and around the natural preserve. It’s the meeting point four multi-use trail systems, and is included in the course of many major sporting events in the area. All of this activity in a traditionally constructed intersection places residents and visitors at risk.
This was how the intersection looked before the project
In order to accommodate the current population as well as the expected growth through 2030, UDOT, the City of St. George and the Southern Utah Bike Alliance (SUBA) collaborated to reconfigure the intersection by creating a center exit interchange.
The center exit interchange creates a safer section of road, while also maintaining a steady flow of traffic. Highway travelers can continue on their way on the outside lanes, while those needing local access take the inside lanes to an intersection that allows east-west travel.
The construction team saved $4 million in construction costs by utilizing the natural topography of the area and building the project within natural grades.
The project after it was finished. Note the center offramp and bike trails
The project also integrated bike/pedestrian paths into the design, with box culverts under SR-18 allowing for safer multimodal transportation under busy roadways, thus connecting the community in a safe, efficient and positive way.
“UDOT should be commended for their positive design process that encourages outside voices and ideas,” said Craig Shanklin, SUBA President. “This was a great example of how the community can be involved in the design process and lead to a better outcome for all users.”
The Diverging Diamond Interchange at Brigham City’s US-91/1100 South location was honored in the “Under Budget” category. That category honors “a project demonstrating transportation efficiency while promoting economic and fiscal responsibility. The award recognizes a successful project brought in under budget that provided the greatest cost savings to the state(s) while offering maximum performance.”
How do you move a steadily increasing traffic flow through an aging, small interchange at the connection of US-91 and Interstate 15, near the northern Utah city of Brigham City? With more than 20,000 vehicles a day — many of them trucks — originating throughout the region, this old, inefficient interchange was reducing the economic lifeblood of local communities to a trickle.
The new DDI at Brigham City on the day it opened.
The 40-year-old interchange would frequently clog when vehicles at its ramps tried to enter the traffic flow. The predominant west to south-bound traffic on US-91 was so steady during the day that it was nearly hopeless for other movements to occur. This prompted risk-taking by trapped motorists at the ramps – and frequent crashes when they did. Regional special events, like local university football games, would bring traffic to a complete halt.
UDOT traffic planners needed a solution, but the answer was elusive. Soils adjacent to the Great Salt Lake were saturated by surface groundwater, making the interchange increasingly unstable. Engineers wondered how to upgrade it without a massive redesign to accommodate the increasing pounding from trucks. Similar rebuilds had cost upwards of $100 million – prohibitive under state budgets at the time.
The answer: innovate. Engineers used an innovation to solve the water issue — geofoam — which allowed the new interchange to “float” on soggy soils. Another innovation — advanced bridge construction — replaced the interchange’s old bridge over I-15 while adding a completely new span in a little more than 10 months. Finally, the innovative diverging diamond traffic pattern was added to the design to solve the problem of congestion and safety.
The white blocks are geofoam, which was used to construct the DDI in a environmentally- and structurally- sound way
The result? An efficient interchange that allows all traffic movements to occur safely and congestion-free, and all for less than $14 million.
“What UDOT and the project team eventually chose to do was not only innovative, but a brilliant solution to an extremely difficult situation with many built-in constrictions,” said Bradley Humpherys, a Senior Transportation Project Manager for Stanley Consultants.
Utah’s two projects — along with projects in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, and Texas — will compete against projects from other regions in the U.S. for a National Grand Prize, the People’s Choice Award and $10,000 prizes to be given by the winners to a transportation-related charity or scholarship program.
The top two national winners will be announced in September at the AASHTO Annual Meeting in Chicago.
“These projects are a small sampling of the many ways in which state DOTs are improving peoples’ quality of life and providing for a vibrant economy,” said John Cox, American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials President and Director of the Wyoming Department of Transportation.
The America’s Transportation Awards – co-sponsored by AASHTO, AAA and the US Chamber of Commerce – annually recognizes the best of America’s transportation projects in four regional competitions. Learn more about the projects and the competition at: AmericasTransportationAwards.org
“Summit County is a popular destination for recreation enthusiasts year-round,” says UDOT Region Two Director Nathan Lee. ”Keeping the flow of motorists, cyclists, and wildlife moving through the county efficiently and safely is a top priority for us.”
The commission takes a tour of the recreation/wildlife underpass at US-40 in the Snyderville Basin.
In the past five years, UDOT has invested $102 million in roadway improvements in Summit County. Some of those projects include:
-I-80 from Kimball Junction to SR 224 Study
This study looked at different scenarios to expand the capacity of SR 224 near Kimball Junction to accommodate future traffic and improve mobility. Three recommendations were made, including a 7-lane section on SR 224, a continuous flow intersection at Olympic Parkway/Newpark Blvd., and a third left turn lane from northbound SR 224 to westbound I-80. A final recommendation has not been chosen and funding for construction has not been secured.
-Wildlife Underpass Crossing at US 40
Completed in November 2014, this new underpass crossing provides recreational access and connectivity west of US 40 with the Frontage Road east of US 40. The underpass also enhances safety for drivers and trail users, while at the same time reducing auto-wildlife crashes.
-SR 224 between Richardson Flat and Round Valley Drive
UDOT repaved and widened S.R. 248 to five lanes (two general purpose lanes in each direction with a two-way left turn lane) from Richardson Flat Road to Round Valley Drive. The project also included the installation of bike lanes from Wyatt Earp Way to Richardson Flat Road and intersection improvements at Richardson Flat Road and S.R. 248. This project was completed in 2013.
The Commission stopped at S.R. 248, east of Comstock Drive, to view a pedestrian tunnel near Treasure Mountain Middle School in Park City.
-SR 224 between Bear Hollow and I-80
UDOT completed a three-inch repaving on S.R. 224 from Bear Hollow to the I-80 interchange in July 2014. The project also included new radar signal detection, pedestrian ramp upgrades and a shared shoulder for Park City Transit buses/ bikes on the east side.
Current projects under construction include the following:
This $43 million project replaces asphalt, upgrades drainage systems, and installs overhead variable message signs (VMS) to better communicate road conditions on Interstate 80 between Silver Creek and Wanship. Construction began in December 2014 and is scheduled for completion in late 2015.
i-80 Bridge Demolition near Wanship We shared with you earlier about the construction going on near Wanship on I-80. Now, we’ve got a video to show how we teamed with Geneva Rock Products to take down the bridge.
This $2.7 million renovation project prolongs the life of the both the Judd and Hobson Lane bridges along Interstate 80 between Coalville and Hoytsville. Originally built in 1967, the bridges provide connectivity and enhance safety for drivers. Renovations began in June 2015 and are scheduled for completion in the fall of 2015.
Upcoming projects in Summit County include the following:
-New westbound truck lane on Interstate 80 between Parley’s Summit and Jeremy Ranch
To improve mobility and enhance safety on Interstate 80, UDOT is designing a passing truck lane between Parley’s Summit and Jeremy Ranch. The $17 million design project will begin in 2017.
-US 40 bridges near Jordanelle Reservoir
This $4.2 million project will preserve seven bridges near the Jordanelle Reservoir, which are frequently used by motorists visiting the area for recreation. The bridges were originally built over 20 years ago. Bridge preservation work begins in 2016.
UDOT engineers advise avoiding travel during heavy traffic times; construction to be suspended on most highway projects
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for travel delays this July 4 weekend by avoiding heavy traffic times if possible. Although work will be suspended and lanes will be open on most Utah highways, existing restrictions will remain in place to protect the work zone and ensure safety on several major projects in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, and Summit counties.
UDOT traffic engineers anticipate heaviest traffic this weekend on Thursday, July 2, between noon and 7 p.m., with highest overall traffic volumes expected around 3 p.m. A second period of high traffic is also expected from Saturday, July 4, at 10:30 p.m. to Sunday, July 5, at 12:30 a.m.
To help accommodate high traffic levels, UDOT will be adjusting the timing of traffic signals and ramp meters. UDOT is also partnering with Orem and Provo, as well as Brigham Young University, to help manage traffic to and from the Stadium of Fire event. Motorists attending the Stadium of Fire are encouraged to avoid construction on Orem Center Street, and use 800 North or University Parkway as an alternate.
Road construction projects that drivers should be aware of when planning their trips this weekend include:
I-15 at the Point of the Mountain
All four lanes are open in both directions on I-15. However, the northbound lanes have been split into two sections between S.R. 92 and 14600 South. Drivers wanting to exit at 14600 South need to stay to the right through the lane split. Due to narrowed and shifting lanes throughout the construction zone, the speed limit has been reduced to 55 miles per hour.
I-80 in Summit County
I-80 is reduced to one lane in each direction from the U.S. 40 interchange to Wanship in Summit County. All traffic has been shifted to the eastbound lanes, and the speed limit is reduced to 45 miles per hour. In addition, the westbound on- and off-ramps at Exit 150 (Tollgate/Promontory) are closed. To reduce delays, drivers should consider using I-84 through Ogden as an alternate route. These restrictions are scheduled to remain in place through fall 2015 while crews reconstruct the freeway with concrete pavement.
Drivers should remember to stay alert, use caution, and obey posted speed limits when traveling through construction zones in order to ensure safety.
Lane splits at the Point of the Mountain, lane closures in Davis County may delay drivers
SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for travel delays on I-15 in Davis and Utah counties beginning as early as Saturday night. Crews will install a new lane split at the Point of the Mountain, and close lanes on I-15 in Davis County to allow concrete to cure.
The following is a brief description of road construction projects that drivers should be aware of this weekend (all schedules subject to change due to weather or equipment issues):
A new lane split is scheduled to be in place on northbound I-15 at the Point of the Mountain starting as early as Sunday morning. The split will divide the northbound lanes into two sections while crews reconstruct the center lanes of the freeway. As part of this split, the two outside lanes will be shifted onto the new permanent pavement for the first time.
All four lanes will continue north on I-15 – however, drivers planning to exit at 14600 South will need to stay right. The lane split will allow UDOT to keep all four lanes open through construction along this busy section of I-15.
Once this split is in place, all four lanes will be reopened at S.R. 92 (currently, one northbound lane is closed at the interchange). To better control traffic merging onto I-15, the ramp meter for the northbound S.R. 92 on-ramp to I-15 will be turned on.
The lane split will work much like it does in Davis County, as shown in the video below.
Southbound I-15 is scheduled to be restricted to three lanes near 400 North in Bountiful for barrier work. Beginning as early as Friday, June 26, at 4 p.m., crews will close the right lane of southbound I-15. This restriction is scheduled to remain in place through Saturday, June 27, at 4 p.m. to allow the concrete to cure.
Northbound I-15 is scheduled to be restricted to three lanes near 2600 South in Bountiful this weekend. Beginning as early as Saturday, June 27, at 6 p.m., crews will close one northbound lane for bridge work. This restriction is scheduled to remain in place through Monday, June 29, at 6 a.m. Drivers should plan ahead for minor delays during this time, and consider using alternate routes such as Legacy Parkway.
Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For more information about these and other UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices.
We’re interested in hearing from you on UDOT Click ‘n Fix — but not just about potholes and traffic signals. We also want your help stopping water pollution. That’s right, water pollution. I was surprised when I first heard about this too! Besides having miles and miles of highways to monitor, we also have acres and acres of right-of-way, and we want to make sure any bodies of water downstream, or near these areas, remain clean and pollutant-free.
Here’s where you come in: If you see any spills or illicit discharges on a UDOT maintained route, open the Click ‘n Fix app, answer a few questions and we’ll have our risk management division investigate.
Big Cottonwood Creek flows right next to S.R. 190 and the UDOT right-of-way. Please let us know if you see any spills or pollutants making their way into our waterways by using UDOT Click ‘n Fix. Not only in obvious places like Big Cottonwood Canyon, but also in populated areas where storm drains eventually empty into water.
So, what are spills and illicit discharges?
Spills are when something other than storm water unintentionally “spills” on the highway or right-of-way. For example, after a car crash, a vehicle may leak oil or antifreeze onto the highway. It needs to be properly cleaned up and disposed of to keep the pollutants out of the storm drain or an adjacent stream, river, lake or wetland.
Illicit discharges may also be unintentional or they may be illegal dumping activities. Some examples of illicit discharges are sprinkler runoff that contains pesticides, fertilizers or weed killers; detergents, oil and grease from washing a car; or someone dumping waste into a storm drain. We also want to know if someone is connecting a pipe or ditch to UDOT’s property or drainage system.
The UDOT Click ‘n Fix app is available on Google Play or iTunes and on our website. Please keep in mind that if you witness something that is endangering public safety, please call 911. This not only applies to spills and pollutant discharges, but also our other Click ‘n Fix issues like road debris.
With your help, we hope to keep pollutants from entering storm drains and making it into Utah’s streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Utah is such a beautiful state, and water is so precious that you can count us in for doing everything we can to keep it pristine.
DRAPER — As part of UDOT’s ongoing efforts to minimize the inconvenience of construction, the Traffic Operations Center (TOC) is posting a new set of travel data on the overhead variable message signs (VMS).
Starting today, commuters traveling on I-15 through The Point project at the Point of the Mountain will be able to see the difference in delay for the time of day that they are on the road, compared to earlier or later.
The Variable Message Sign on SB I-15 near 8200 South educates motorists on the best times to commute around The Point.
For example, a driver traveling from I-215 to Lehi Main Street at 5:15 p.m. would have to deal with average delays of nearly 25 minutes. But if that same driver traveled an hour earlier, she would only be delayed about 13 minutes.
Those ten minutes could be spent wrapping up a project at work, or watching the first inning of your kid’s baseball game – rather than stuck in traffic.
In addition to shifting your travel times, there are several other ways you can rethink your commute to avoid getting stuck in construction traffic. Consider TravelWise strategies like taking public transit, telecommuting or carpooling. Learn more at udot.utah.gov/rethink.
Data shows delay times can be decreased significantly by rethinking when you’re on the road.
This post was written by Christina Davis, Communications Manager on The Point project.
LAYTON — The Utah Department of Transportation and Layton City are working together to tailor solutions to meet the city’s unique traffic challenges.
One of the main challenges is near Hill Field Road and the interchange with Interstate 15. Typically, it takes motorists about 10 minutes to go a half-mile from Main Street to the Layton Hills Mall, with cars frequently backing up all the way to the freeway. UDOT and the city are ready to construct solutions in this area in two phases, aimed at improving traffic flow, driver safety, and access to local businesses.
Phase One will have new ThrU Turn intersections built on Hill Field Road at Main Street and at Gordon Avenue (near the Layton Hills Mall). A ThrU Turn intersection improves traffic flow by eliminating left turns at the main intersection. Drivers wishing to turn left continue straight to the intersection, then make a U-turn at a specially designed turnaround. Construction will start on Sunday, June 14, and is schedules for completion in 90 days — in time for Black Friday and other holiday shopping.
Phase Two will construct a Single Point Urban Interchange at the Hill Field Road interchange on I-15. On these interchanges, all traffic from the off- and on-ramps (as well as Hill Field Road) is controlled by a single traffic signal. This design imporves the flow of traffic and enhances safety for drivers. The interchange will be completed during the 2016 construction season.
According to computer data, driving along Hill Field Road will take half as long when construction is complete. In 25 years, that drive time will be 1/4 as long as if the intersection stayed as-is.
The majority of lane closures are scheduled at night, as part of UDOT’s efforts to work as effectively as possible to minimize delays during construction. When complete, drivers will save an average of 5 minutes off their commute.
Residents with questions can meet the contractor on Tuesday, June 16 from 5-7 p.m. at the Layton Hills Mall. Current information will also be posted at the Layton Improved website, and you can call the project hotline at 801.904.9064.