November 5th, 2014

A Day in the Life of UDOT Region Three

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Becky Parker.

Region Three recently held a photo contest and the results included several fantastic images that show a variety of tasks that have taken place throughout Daggett, Duchesne, Juab, Uintah, Utah, and Wasatch counties.

Region Three Director, Teri Newell, provided the following thank you to all photo contest participants in the Region Three Fall 2014 Newsletter:

“Pictures of our everyday work help tell the story of what we do. Construction projects are visible to the public when it impacts traffic, but there is so much more that we do behind the scenes! From installing and maintaining culverts to clearing tumbleweeds from roadsides, it is our day-to-day work that makes Utah’s transportation system function. We have the privilege of working in some pretty amazing places with great people!”

Contest winners were:

  • Bandon Warenski for his photo of  burning weeds on S.R. 68.
  • Chad Allinson for his video clip of the tumbleweeds on S.R. 68.
  • Brian Allen for his photo series of Provo Canyon.

Honorable mentions include:

  • Leslie Beck for photos of tumbleweed clean-up along S.R. 73.
  • Mote Siufanua for photos of compaction testing on Hole Road.
  • Chad Cowan for photos of culvert installation near Nephi.
  • Ervan Rhoades for photos of chip sealing on S.R. 87 in Duchesne County.

A slide show of the images is available below or can be seen directly on Flickr.


Created with flickr slideshow.

November 2nd, 2014

Fostering Knowledge Management

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Guest Post.

About three years ago, Lori Dabling, then-State Project Manager at UDOT and now retired, submitted a unique and timely proposal for the AASHTO Domestic Scan Program. The proposal indicated a need, based on an expected increase in the number of retirees and a decrease in workforce size over the next decade, to speed up how state DOTs transfer knowledge to a technology-savvy workforce. The result was Scan 12-04, “Advances in Transportation Agency Knowledge Management,” funded under NCHRP Project 20-68A. Lori Dabling participated with other Knowledge Management (KM) experts on the scan team.

The scan report is now available online. As stated in the report, the purpose of the scan was to “identify and document successful KM practices…and identify additional needs to advance KM in transportation agencies.” The report has several great examples of KM practices and implementation strategies. It also notes that KM programs can involve both tacit knowledge that is difficult to document and explicit knowledge that has been codified.

With the recent completion of the scan, UDOT and other state DOTs are continuing to benefit from the results of the scan. This past August three members of the KM scan team visited UDOT and presented key results and strategies to interested UDOT leaders and staff.

Photo of conference room with attendees and presentation projected on the wall

Scan team presentation to UDOT leaders

The visiting scan team members included John Halikowski (Arizona DOT Director), Anne Ellis (Arizona DOT Assistant Deputy Director), and Frances Harrison (Spy Pond Partners). Approximately 40 UDOT leaders and staff attended between the two presentations given by the scan team. The presentation to leaders included discussion of the KM value proposition. Mr. Halikowski emphasized that KM processes can enable a state DOT to “act as intelligently as possible as an organization” and recommended prioritizing KM efforts to align with a state DOT’s top organizational needs. Ms. Harrison provided highlights to leaders and staff about public and private-sector organizations which are having great success with KM practices, including Kraft Foods and some state DOTs such as Virginia DOT.

Table with top ten organization needs paired with knowedge managment facet.

Pairing of the Top Ten Organizational Needs with the Ten Facets of Knowledge Management (from Mr. Halikowski’s presentation).

We look forward to hearing and sharing more success stories about KM techniques being implemented within UDOT. The scan report and strategies described in it will certainly become valuable resources for us all in this process.

This guest post was written by David Stevens, P.E., UDOT Research Program Manager, as was originally published in the Research Newsletter.

UDOT Region 2 will complete five maintenance projects on state Route 68 (Redwood Road) between S.R. 201 and the Davis County line during the 2013-2015 construction seasons. When complete, these projects will integrate different transportation options to create an improved corridor for all road users including motor vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A dedicated bike lane will span from S.R. 201 to North Temple and shared shoulders will allow more room for cyclists between North Temple and the Davis County line. The projects all reconstructed pedestrian ramps to meet current standards and radar detection has or will be added at several intersections. These improved project features increase safety, and allow for better traffic flow and access to transit and trails in northern Salt Lake County.

Photo of traffic on Redwood Road with a bike lane

Redwood Road near 500 North

UDOT is partnering with municipalities across the state to improve facilities and make more integrated transportation choices available to the traveling public. UDOT has worked closely with Salt Lake City’s Transportation Division throughout all phases of the S.R. 68 projects to include these improvements. According to Becka Roolf, Salt Lake City’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator, “having people be able to walk and bike, take public transportation, and/or drive are all part of the transportation choices for a city. UDOT has been a great partner on improving those choices.” UDOT is proud to implement strategies that improve safety and increase mobility to develop a world-class roadway network for all transportation users.

On the S.R. 68; I-80 to California Avenue project, Salt Lake City’s request was received later in the design process, requiring some re-design in order to accomplish the bike lane changes necessary. The team determined that integrated transportation was a high priority for the S.R. 68 corridor and were able to incorporate Salt Lake City design requests and still advertise the project on-time. Two other projects on S.R. 68 between S.R. 201 and California Avenue and between 250 South and 1000 North benefited from this decision and were able to coordinate with the City early to include these added features without any impacts to their design schedules.

During construction, the S.R. 68; I-80 to California Avenue project installed the new radar traffic detection system at the onset of construction so that it could be used to maintain traffic flow on S.R. 68 during construction. It had the added benefit of providing bicycle detection in an area that is heavily used by commuter and recreational cyclists alike. Project Manager Lisa Zundel explains that bike lanes “are a benefit for all road users because they separate slower moving cyclists from the motor vehicle traffic,” improving traffic flow across the facility. “UDOT’s improved radar system can detect bicycles in the roadway or bike lanes and give them the opportunity to have a green light,” she added.

Image showing the radard detection zone for cyclistsUDOT is reaching out to the cycling community to explain how radar detection works and to help cyclists position themselves appropriately in an intersection where radar is present. “In order to be detected by radar, cyclists need to be in a through or left-turn lane, behind the stop bar or near a painted bicycle symbol if one is present,” explained Robert Clayton, Director of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center. This positioning removes potential conflict between cyclists and right-turning vehicles at the intersection and triggers the radar if no motor vehicles are present. This will increase safety for cyclists at intersections and improve traffic flow throughout the system.

This guest post was written by the Redwood Road Project Team.

A two-mile stretch of I-15 near milepost 91 in Nevada was washed away due to heavy rainfall that started on Monday, September 8th. In an unprecedented storm around 4 inches of rain fell in the space of 2 hours, flooding the road and washing away ground and asphalt leaving the interstate impassable. Record breaking numbers of rainfall were reported along streams in the area.

The Nevada DOT declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, September 9 due to the importance of passenger vehicle and commercial trucking flow on I-15. According to Arizona Department of Transportation, approximately 23,000 vehicles use I-15 each day between St. George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Warnings on Utah’s freeway message boards were posted up and down I-15 letting drivers know that the freeway would be closed down and provided details for  alternate routes. These signs went as far east as Nebraska to provide enough time for travelers to change their routes.

Screen shot of tweet that says 'From nevadadot semi restriction lifted (except oversie w/o permit) on NV I-15Information was also available to drivers via the 511 phone line, the Utah Trucking Association, news outlets, Arizona and Nevada DOT’s, the UDOT Traffic website, the UDOT Traffic Twitter account and the UDOT Traffic app. UDOT’s social media channels proved very valuable during this event.

Travelers were directed to take S.R. 56 out of Cedar City to Nevada S.R. 319 and then to the U.S. 93 back to the freeway. UDOT and NDOT worked very hard to provide accurate and timely information to motorists traveling on this alternative.

State DOT’s had to work together. Although the closure was not in Utah UDOT was heavily involved in sending support to the affected areas. Due to increased traffic on S.R. 56 a UDOT Incident Management Team (IMT) was dispatched to assist. The IMT crews directed traffic, filled potholes and moved disabled semis out of traffic.

They also deployed a portable traffic camera trailer to the S.R. 18/S.R. 56 junction to monitor any potential problems and back-ups. UDOT’s Region 4 shared access to this camera with Nevada DOT. Region 4 was also able to respond quickly to a rockslide on the Arizona section of I-15 and sent snow plows to clear rock debris in the Virgin River Gorge area.

Southbound I-15 reopened to traffic on Friday, September 12th to one lane in each direction for passenger vehicles. Northbound lanes reopened on September 18.

Glenn Blackwelder a Traffic Operations Engineer at UDOT said “We could not have done it on our own. It took the communication and resources of the Traffic Operations Center, Region 4 and NDOT working together. We were pleased with how all agencies and divisions were able to work together to get I-15 back open as quickly as possible.”Screen shot of tweet and attached map showing detour route. The tweet reads "Reminder: Nevada I-15 closed due to flooding. So Cal and Vegas detour map:"

This guest post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.

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

UDOT is currently preparing for the next phase of construction on the Mountain View Corridor from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City. The project needed to relocate an older, steel water tank near 4300 South. The water tank held 2 million gallons of water that proved to be too small for the growing area. UDOT and GHD worked together to build a new, 4 million gallon concrete water tank and built it in the neighborhood adjacent to the future roadway.

Photo of water tank under construction with first rise and base in place.Instead of disposing of the old water tank material, UDOT and GHD researched ways to re-use it. Cedar City was in need of a new water tank and contacted UDOT. The water tank was dismantled and transported to its new location for reassembly.

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

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

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

Photo of water tank with second rise in place

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

Photo of mud and rock over the road and a coal hauling truck trapped in the debris.On July 29, 2014, a rainstorm hit S.R. 28 between Nephi and Gunnison. Several locations between milepost 16 and 29 were flooded, leaving up to six feet of debris on the road in places and trapping a coal hauling truck. This section of S.R. 28 is maintained by the Nephi shed in Region Three and they were dispatched to clear the road, but their available resources were limited.

The Gunnison and Salina sheds were called on to assist with the efforts. They supplied equipment and labor to assist in opening the road. These five individuals received a silver barrel for their efforts assisting Region Three.

Gunnison Station #4462

  • Kevin Conover
  • Marcus Lambert
  • Brian Sorensen
  • Zeb Wignal

Salina Station #4463

  • Brian Quarnberg

Photo of several loaders working to remove debris from S.R. 28This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel Award nomination submitted by Daryl Friant, Region Four East District Engineer.

 

UDOT is working to improve deer use of the crossings and prevent motorist-wildlife crashes.

Photo of deer using the crossingThe fall migration of the Paunsaugunt mule deer herd reaches its height between October and November as deer move south, and eventually end up east of Kanab or in Arizona near the Kiabab Plateau. This is the second year that migrating deer will encounter new fencing and wildlife crossings on U.S. 89 east of Kanab. Since Utah’s deer hunt coincides with the migration, it’s more likely that people and deer will come into close proximity near a wildlife crossing or along U.S. 89. And when people are near, deer appear to be less likely to learn to use wildlife crossings.

The new fencing is designed to direct deer to the under-highway crossings, but it can take three years or more before most of the animals in the herd learn the crossing options. UDOT is identifying and implementing measures to improve crossings by working with Patricia Cramer, PhD, Utah State University Research Assistant Professor, Arizona Game and Fish, the BLM and the Grand Staircase agencies and employees from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

“We’re very interested to see how it works out this year,” says Randall Taylor from the UDOT Region Four Richfield office. He has been part of an effort to install fencing and three crossings along a 12.5 mile area with the highest wildlife-automobile crash history. “This project does not cover the whole area but it’s an important first step at the core of the accidents.”

Photo of deer using the crossingSoon after project completion in September 2013, Cramer placed motion-activated cameras at each crossing. The photos provide information about how many deer are using the crossings, and identify reasons deer may be deterred.

Photos from last year show more people near the crossings during the deer hunt, and fewer deer making the trek across. Probably because the crossings were new, deer congregated near the fencing along the highway. Road users saw the deer and stopped to take a look. UDOT responded by placing variable message signs to discourage motorists from pulling over.

Other circumstances served to deter deer from following the fencing and using the crossings. Gaps under the fencing encouraged deer to push through on to the pavement. “Flooding was to blame for some of those gaps, and coyotes were the cause of others,” says Taylor. UDOT and UDWR are monitoring the fencing and filling gaps as soon as possible.

Besides doing work on the project corridor, UDWR is communicating directly with hunters; a message about staying away from crossings will go out with each license holder.

The crossings are important to highway safety in the area. Pre-project crash data indicates that building the crossings prevents an estimated 132 crashes per year. “Hopefully, more deer will get across this year. The research Patti Cramer is doing is helping.”

For more:

Read a post about how UDOT collaborates to improve crossings written by Patricia Cramer, PhD, Utah State University

Photo of bicyclists on Provo Main Street

Cyclists and motorists share Provo Main Street

More than 20 people attended the kick-off meeting for the Region Three Bike Advisory Group, a group of staff who have interest in better understanding the Region Three Bike Plan.

Craig Hancock, Region Three Engineering Manager, is leading the effort to become familiar with the bike plan and identify local government priorities.

“As part of UDOT’s emphasis on integrated transportation, we want to take a close look at the existing plan and validate that our staff and local governments support it,” Craig said. “We will work with local governments and Mountainland Association of Governments (MAG) to gain their buy-in so that together we have a commitment to implement the bike plan.”

Region Three staff expressed interest in the bike plan for a variety of reasons: some are bicyclists who ride for recreation or commuting. Others were interested because the bike plan affects their job and how projects are built. There was also a mix of on-road riders and trail riders. Some key considerations in implementing bicycle improvements that were discussed include:

  • Parking and bike lanes
  • Bicycle signal detection and routing of bicyclists through intersections
  • Pavement type; chip seal surfaces are difficult for bicyclists
  • Sweeping and snow removal or snow storage
  • Rumble strips

A core group from the 20 interested staff will meet monthly to work through the existing bike plan and coordinate with local governments and MAG. The larger group will be assembled for input and feedback at key points during the validation process. “In the end,” Craig said, “the goal is to have a region bike plan that we commit to make happen.”

The Employee Advisory Council met August 6, 2014. Items that were included in the discussion included:

  • Performance Awards
  • Recognizing Retiring Employees
  • Employee Communication
  • Losing FTEs – Doing More with Less

Notes from the meeting are available below.

EAC August 2014 Summary

Information from previous meetings has also been posted on the blog.

Employee Advisory Council

Photo of two loaders and a barge moving the "wedge" to a new position. The "wedge" is the ramp vechicles use to load on the ferry.

Photo provided by Christopher Thompson with the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

On July 15, 2014 ARAMARK, UDOT, and National Park Service employees met to assemble the “wedge” for the Charles Hall Ferry on the Bullfrog side of state Route 276 which crosses Lake Powell.

After a safety briefing, clarification of the operational mission for the day, and finalizing all the last minute details, the group proceeded with their assigned tasks. The work was well coordinated and very efficient amongst all those involved.

Special thanks goes to the UDOT crew for showing up with all the proper tools, equipment and personnel, ready to get the job accomplished safely. Without their support, none of this could have been accomplished. They also utilized two loaders to relocate the necessary gravel and to groom the access road.

UDOT employees included:

Hanksville Station #4467

  • Stan Roberts
  • Fred Weihing
  • Brandon Whipple

Loa Station #4466

  • Wesley Erickson
  • Shawn Davis

ARAMARK employees did an excellent job manning the barge and positioning the “wedge” as the wind increased in strength. After the main construction of the road the NPS came in with a grader, and multiple loads of water to achieve a usable surface and compaction.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Christopher Thompson, Maintenance Mechanic Supervisor for Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.