Photo of mule deer at a crossingEach fall the Paunsaugunt mule deer herd migrates off the Paunsaugunt Plateau near Bryce Canyon, to the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and across U.S. 89 to winter habitat in southern Utah and northern Arizona. In spring they return to the Paunsaugunt Plateau. During the migrations mule deer were killed on U.S. 89 in wildlife-vehicle collisions, which also posed a hazard for drivers. Historic data revealed that there was an average of 132 mule deer-vehicle collisions each year along U.S. 89 from Arizona to Kanab. As a result, UDOT and partner agencies came up with a strategy to add wildlife exclusion fencing to U.S. 89 east of Kanab in the migration area to funnel the mule deer and other wildlife to four existing structures, and to create three new constructed wildlife crossing culverts under the highway.

The creation of this wildlife mitigation marks a new era of inter-agency and non-profit partnerships to protect wildlife across roads. UDOT partnered with Utah Division of Wildlife (UDWR) to include multiple partners on this project, including Arizona Game and Fish (AZFGD), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), US Bureau of Land Management Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Kane County, the Mule Deer Foundation (MDF), Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW) and others to come up with the funding and strategies to help mule deer migrate under U.S. 89.

The U.S. 89 Kanab Paunsaugunt Project partners brought together over 2.5 million dollars to install 12 miles of wildlife exclusion fencing and three wildlife culvert underpasses in the center of the stretch. Utah State University became a research partner, installing wildlife monitoring cameras at all structures and fence ends. In 2013 the mitigation was completed, research cameras were installed, and mule deer began moving under U.S. 89 in September.

As the mule deer migration began and camera data came in, it became apparent some mule deer were becoming restricted in their ability to use the structures because of cattle fences and people, and that the agency partnership needed to continue to work together to help make the mitigation most effective.

UDWR and BLM worked together to make small changes to fencing and gates to increases mule deer ability to use the structures, which were partially blocked by traditional cattle allotment boundary fences and gates under the road in the culverts and bridges.

In the fall during the peak of migration, mule deer may have become more skittish toward using the structures in part due to sports people scouting areas and individual animals for the hunt. Human presence combined with the restricted space of culverts and bridges that the mule deer were now expected to move through, the deer congregated near the fencing along the highway. People traveling on the freeway saw the deer and stopped to take a look. UDOT responded by placing variable message signs to discourage motorists from pulling over. UDWR contacted hunters who will be hunting in the area in 2014 with a message asking hunters to stay a distance away from crossing structures.

“We’re very interested to see how it works out this year,” says UDOT Project Manager Randall Taylor. “This project does not cover the whole migration area but it’s an important first step.”

The fall 2013 photographs documented over 3,000 times mule deer used the structures or went around fence ends to migrate south. The 2014 migration is expected to show as many or more passages through these increasingly effective wildlife crossing structures. Continued agency coordination and research will help this herd and other wildlife stay clear of the highway while still accessing critical habitat on both sides of U.S. 89.

Additional information about the project and partnerships can be found in the Western Governors’ Association April 2014 Case Study.

This guest post was written by Patricia Cramer, PhD USU Assistant Research Professor

Photo of I-15 near Payson

This capacity project added a lane and shoulder in each direction

The I-15 Payson to Spanish Fork project was one of the largest construction projects in Region Three in 2013.

The ambitious $22 million, 6.5 mile design-build project recently received the “2014 Excellence in Concrete Award” in the category of Structures: Public Works for the concrete work on the bridges.

The project was fast-paced, with 7 months to widen 8 structures and extend pavement into the existing median for an extra lane and wider inside shoulder.

In addition to being widened, the existing bridge substructures were repaired to increase service life. The project also included constructing two miles of precast concrete post and panel noise walls on the east side of I-15 through Payson.

The I-15 Payson to Spanish Fork project improved a vital connection between the north and south half of the state for both commuters and the movement of goods and services. The rapid pace of the project and public coordination created little impact or inconvenience to the traveling public.

September 15th, 2014

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Catherine Higgins.

Two engineers are promoting a cyclical process that will help any function at UDOT chart a path to continuous improvement.

Headshot of Rovert Stewart

Robert Stewart

Statewide Quality Manager Robert Stewart and Quality Management Engineer Curt McCuistion are looking for opportunities to share information about the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. “We are an organization that does very well in quality,” Says Robert Stewart, UDOT Statewide Quality Manager. The road construction that’s carried out under UDOT’s oversight is very carefully executed with quality control and quality assurance processes in place to make sure work is carried out properly, and that the final product meets established standards. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle, which incorporates the data from these QCQA processes, is a management approach that will be shared with all of UDOT, not just construction.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle follows these steps:

Plan – the first step is to plan how to meet the needs of our customers, both internal and external, by meeting or exceeding expectations. The plan should establish ways to measure success and establish a baseline for future comparison.

Headshot of Curt McCuiston

Curt McCuiston

Do – The next step is to carry out project activities while collecting data on customer expectations, and to observe problems that arise along with possible causes.

Check – This phase involves checking the data to observe how the plan is working by using the original baseline as a comparison.

Act – If the Check phase shows success, the work continues along the same path. If the work falls short of meeting the baseline established in the Plan phase, changes need to be made before continuing on with the project.

These methods have a proven success record throughout the public and private sectors. “The cycle that we follow is the same for all continuous improvement,” says Stewart.

No arms twisted

Stewart and McCuistion are using a soft-sell approach. UDOT is already doing good things at every level, explains Stewart. “Our goal is to simply get better, and get people in the mindset that they can control this, they can change this, and they can improve this.”

Stewart and McCuistion are starting with UDOT Project Development first. “Curt and I are starting in the UDOT Project Development realm because design and construction are our biggest hits. That’s the where the majority of the budget is spent – that’s why we’re focusing on those areas. Eventually we should be doing this in all of our functions within the DOT.”

Using the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle across the department should help UDOT be more nimble and capable of meeting the changing needs of all customers.

Photo of region directors and award recipient at the luncheon

Region 3 Director Teri Newell, Region 2 Director Nathan Lee, and Region 2 Career Achieve Award Recipient Dan Betts

Over the past two weeks, Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) leadership recognized the 2014 statewide nominees for Employee of the Year, Leader of the Year and Career Achievement awards. UDOT leadership ate lunch with the statewide nominees from each region and group and expressed their appreciation for each of the individuals being honored.

Each leader spent several minutes sharing stories exemplifying the individual winners and their contributions to our organization. After hearing remarks from leaders, nominees, and the nominees’ guests, Executive Director Carlos Braceras stated, “We spend more waking time with our coworkers than we do with our families, in many cases, so I

Photo of Corey Preece and his wife at the luncheon

Region 1 Career Achievement Award Recipient Corey Preece and his wife.

enjoy hearing from spouses, friends and children about the people we consider our own. We really are a family here at UDOT.”

Each year, regions and groups select award winners who help accomplish UDOT’s efforts to keep customers moving and make UDOT the preeminent transportation organization in the country. Winners are chosen who demonstrate achievements and qualities that enable us to achieve our Final Four strategic goals, support the Emphasis Areas and embody UDOT’s Core Values. These winners move on as nominees at the statewide level, and senior leaders will then choose winners from that group for the entire state. Statewide winners will be announced on Wednesday, Oct. 29 at the UDOT Annual Conference banquet.

Congratulations and thank you to all of our statewide nominees!

Photo of Richard Manser and his wife at the luncheon

Project Development Career Achievement Award Recipient Richard Manser and his wife

Career Achievement
Corey Preece (Region 1)
Dan Betts (Region 2)
Mike Sabey (Region 3)
Kerry Savage (Region 4)
Richard Manser (Project Development)
John Leonard (Operations)
Gary Nelson (Administrative)

Leader of the Year
Kelly Barrett (Region 1)
Dave Schwartz (Region 2)
Bill Townsend (Region 3)
Brandon McKinlay (Region 4)
George Lukes (Project Development)
Chad Sheppick (Operations)
Stan Burns (Program Development)
Kelly Garner (Administrative)

Employee of the Year
Janice Tremaine (Region 1)
Julie Sheppick (Region 2)
Tyson Larson (Region 3)
Sue Moorhead (Region 4)
Margaret Gish (Project Development)
Kelly Burns (Operations)
Kelli Bacon (Program Development)
Nicole Jaramillo (Administrative)

September 10th, 2014

See UDOT in 3D

No Comments, Employee Focus, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT is moving to an all-3D environment which includes greater use of available design capabilities and an eventual move to a full 3D project workflow.

photo of the Virgin River Arch Bridge.

A photo-realistic image: UDOT built a new bridge over the Virgin River on S.R. 9 near Hurricane to accommodate increased traffic volume. This rendered image shows the new bridge superimposed over the existing bridge, which remains in use.

Embracing a 3D workflow environment will produce some important advantages, including the use of models that can be viewed from all angles in order to assess constructability, utility clash detection models that show a full representation of underground utilities, and animations that can show the built project along with expected traffic flow.

3D models, animations and illustrations can help bridge the communication gaps that sometimes occur among specialties at UDOT, or between the agency and stakeholder groups, since complex engineering data is more easily understood when presented in 3D.

For UDOT designers, the move to 3D represents “a fine tuning of the way we design,” says Bob Peterson, UDOT Methods Engineer. “We’ll be taking our 3D design to a full completion instead of just doing a paper copy as the final output.”

A full 3D workflow

Moving to a full 3D workflow means that projects will be modeled and provided to contractors as a 3D engineered model at advertising, and contractors will return an as-built 3D model that accurately represents project outcome.

Designers at UDOT have been working in 3D for about 20 years. Currently, when projects are advertised, 2D plan sets are made available to all bidding contractors. During the advertising time frame, contractors take those 2D sets and may create their own 3D model. Once the project is awarded, the winning contractor will typically finish a 3D model or hand-enter information for Automated Machine Guidance.

Getting as-built 3D models will represent a big efficiency boost to UDOT. “Once we get to the point where we know exactly what the existing condition is, then the designers don’t have to start from scratch anymore,” explains George Lukes, Standards Design Engineer.

Challenges and strengths

Lukes is overseeing the effort to move to a full 3D workflow. He sees challenges ahead, but recognizes that UDOT has some advantages as an agency, including working with a willing and capable consulting and contracting community.

“The big deal is advertising the project with the model as the legal document,” says Lukes. “Right now the legal documents are our plan sheets, the paper copies – legally that’s what the contractor has to follow. It’s a huge challenge to give the model to the contractor and say ‘this now is the legal document,’ but I think our contractors and consultants are very willing to sit down and figure a way to make that work.”

UDOT Region Four will take on the initial challenge of delivering a 3D model as an advertising package for three projects. All three projects will use CMGC, an innovative contracting method that allows close collaboration between UDOT and a contractor in the preconstruction phase.

Collaboration with the contractor during design will help UDOT minimize risks encountered when building the project “because they know the construction risks better than we do,” says Lukes. “It’s going to give us information that we need, the contractor will be on board with us while we do it, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good lessons learned from that too.”

Fully embracing 3D capabilities will produce comprehensive planning, construction and design solutions that will benefit UDOT and all contract partners and road users. UDOT will learn how to better minimize risk. Bidding contractors will realize a big efficiency by not having to create baseline models from scratch. The winning contractor will also have UDOT’s model to modify for construction and 3D as-builts will make subsequent design processes more efficient. The outcome will be better roads and a more efficient use of transportation funding.

For more:

See FAQs with a timeline for implementing 3D, presentations, and more at udot.utah.gov/go/3-d

Bentley software training for UDOT employees is offered regularly. For more information, contact Bob Peterson at 801-965-4041 or bobpeterson@utah.gov

Also check out this flyer.

Photos and diagram of different kinds of GSS connectors

Figure 1. Two types of GSS connectors used: (a) FGSS, (b) GGSS, (c) FGSS-1, (d) GGSS-1

In recent years, the Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) method has received attention in regions of moderate-to-high seismicity. Prefabrication of bridge structural components is a highly effective method in this process and one of the ABC methods for Prefabricated Bridge Elements and Systems (PBES) advanced by the Federal Highway Administration. Joints between such precast concrete components play an important role in the overall seismic performance of bridges constructed with the ABC method. Research has been carried out at the University of Utah to investigate potential ABC joint details for bridges located in high-seismic regions. A connector type, referred to as a Grouted Splice Sleeve (GSS), is studied for column-to-footing and column-to-cap beam joints. Two GSS connectors commonly used in buildings were utilized in this study, as shown in Fig. 1. The column-to-cap beam joints used a GSS connector where one bar was threaded into one end and the other bar was grouted into the opposite end (denoted as FGSS), as shown in Fig. 1(a) and Fig. 1(c). The column-to-footing joints incorporated another type of GSS where the bars were grouted at both ends (denoted as GGSS), as shown in Fig. 1(b) and Fig. 1(d).

Drawings of the test specimen alternatives

Figure 2. Configuration of test specimen alternatives

Three precast alternatives in addition to one conventional cast-in-place half-scale model were constructed for each category, as shown in Fig. 2; the column-to-cap beam joints were tested upside down. The GSS connectors were placed in the column base (GGSS-1) or column top (FGSS-1) in the first alternative. The location of the GSS connectors changed to the top of the footing (GGSS-2) and bottom of the cap beam (FGSS-2) to study the performance of the joints when the GSS connectors were outside the plastic hinge zone of the column in the second alternative. The dowel bars in the footing and the cap beam were debonded over a length equal to eight times the rebar diameter (8db) for the third alternative in both categories, while the GSS connectors were embedded in the column base (GGSS-3) or column top (FGSS-3). The last specimen type was the cast-in-place joint, in which continuous bars from the footing and cap beam were used to build the columns with-out bar splices (GGSS-CIP and FGSS-CIP).

Photos of the speciment

Figure 3. Specimen GGSS-3 at a drift ration of 7%: (a) overall view; (b) footing dowel at joint interface

Experimental results under cyclic quasi-static loading showed that the performance of all joints was satisfactory in terms of strength and stiffness characteristics. However, the hysteretic performance and displacement ductility capacity of the specimens were distinct. Improved seismic response was observed when the GSS connectors were located inside the footing (GGSS-2) and the cap beam (FGSS-2) rather than the corresponding column end. The debonded rebar zone enhanced the ductility level and the hysteretic performance of the joints. This technique was found to be highly effective for the column-to-footing joint (GGSS-3), as shown in Fig. 3. As expected, the cast-in-place joints performed the best.

Even though AASHTO Specifications currently do not allow the use of connectors in the plastic hinge region, all joints tested in this research demonstrated acceptable ductility for moderate-seismic regions and some joints demonstrated acceptable ductility for high-seismic regions. The GSS connectors studied in this research were promising, especially when considering the time-saving potential of joints constructed using ABC methods; however, the different hysteretic performance and reduced displacement ductility of various alternatives com-pared to the cast-in-place joints must be accounted for in design.

Acknowledgments: This study is described further, including recent reports, on the TPF-5(257) website. The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Utah, New York State and Texas Departments of Transportation, and the Mountain Plains Consortium. The authors also acknowledge the assistance of Joel Parks, Dylan Brown, and Mark Bryant of the University of Utah.

This guest post was written by Chris P. Pantelides, Ph.D., University of Utah, M.J. Ameli, University of Utah, and Jason Richins, S.E., Research Engineering Manager and was originally published in the Research Newsletter

Red and black logo that says Zero Fatalities A Goal We Can All Live WithLabor Day weekend marked the close of what has been dubbed the 100 Deadliest Days on Utah roads. Traditionally, traffic fatalities increase significantly during the summer months compared to the rest of the year, and unfortunately this year was no different. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, 96 people lost their lives on Utah roads – nearly a fatality a day. That’s up from 91 during the same period last year.

Each of these numbers represents a person whose life was cut tragically short, and a family who is experiencing unimaginable grief. The lives of so many people will never be the same.

As of September 2nd, 168 people have died on our roads in 2014, up 20 from the same time last year – more than a 13 percent increase. Our goal is Zero Fatalities, and it’s concerning anytime that number moves in the wrong direction.

Now it’s important to put these numbers in perspective. From 2000 to 2012, we reduced traffic fatalities on Utah roads by 41 percent – and in 2012, we hit a 50-year record low. We have made great strides in terms of engineering of roads and vehicles, greater enforcement and driver education – but more can always be done.

The Zero Fatalities program focuses considerable effort on school outreach and teaching young student drivers to become great drivers from the start – and to avoid the five behaviors that contribute to nearly all of the fatal crashes in our state: Aggressive Driving, Drowsy Driving, Distracted Driving, Impaired Driving… and the number one factor killing people on Utah roads – Not Buckling Up.

In 2013, nearly half of the traffic fatalities (excluding pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists) were a result of people not buckling up. Of the crash investigation reports we’ve received so far this year, at least 45 people have died in 2014 because they were not wearing their seat belts.

Wearing a seat belt is not just a personal decision; it affects everyone else in the vehicle and other people on the road. In a crash, an unbuckled passenger may become a projectile and increase the risk of injury or death to the other vehicle occupants by 40 percent. Wearing a seat belt also helps the driver stay in the driver’s seat to maintain control of the vehicle.

Buckling up is the simplest action you can take to prevent injury and save your life in a crash – and it’s essential that we all make this commitment to help reach our goal of Zero Fatalities on Utah roads.

September 3rd, 2014

UDOT U: Opportunities to Learn

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Guest Post.

Over the last three years, I’ve quite often been asked, what is UDOT U and what can it do for employees?

The simplest answer to the first part of this question is UDOT University is UDOT’s learning organization; in other words, it is a fancy name for the training the department delivers. To answer the second part of the question, what can [UDOT U] do for employees, I’ll list what UDOT U does, and then employees can decide if there is anything that might be of value to them.

UDOT U does the following things: (1) provide UDOT employees and stakeholders with opportunities for learning and development, (2) facilitate partnerships with other learning organizations, (3) provide tools and infrastructure to track training hours and training effectiveness, and (4) assist subject-matter areas find ways to fund needed training.

Photo of conference room and attendees.

Kendrall Draney and Bryan Allen at a UDOT Annual Conference breakout session on project management.

Providing learning opportunities

UDOT-hosted NHI courses, breakout sessions at the UDOT Annual Conference, and webinars using Adobe Connect are all examples of learning opportunities UDOT U has provided to 13,000 attendees over the last couple of years. We’re in the process of adding to our course catalog, powered by Adobe Connect; go here to browse the 100+ offerings: www.connect.udot.utah.gov. We’re adding more every day. We contract with groups and work with vendors to keep marginal costs down for our business units.

Developing employees

As a learning organization UDOT U attempts to provide development opportunities for employees. Funds, obviously, are not unlimited so we look for ways to get the biggest bang for our buck. Purchasing licenses for Lynda.com; bringing in external subject matter experts through NHI, AASHTO, and local universities; and refocusing the breakout sessions at the UDOT Annual Conference to center on training has provided employees easy access to learning opportunities. The tuition assistance program, although more strictly a benefit than a training program, has allowed many UDOT employees to seek accredited degrees from local colleges and universities.

Photo of three students watching as an eye dropper is used with a test tube.

UDOT Chemist Sara Carlock demonstrates pH testing, which is used in the transportation industry to assure materials meet specifications.

Fostering learning and sharing

UDOT U has assisted the department initiate TRAC and RIDES programs, AASHTO-sponsored STEM initiatives for primary and secondary schools. Through this program UDOT provides needed materials and expertise to schools. Teachers use the materials to present engineering- and transportation- related lessons to future engineers and technicians.

UDOT U is also in the beginning stages of partnering with the research division to develop ways to capture, organize, and manage employees’ considerable knowledge and experience. We are looking for ways to make institutional memory shareable. We’re at the very beginning of the project; your ideas for how this might best be accomplished are welcome.

Developing infrastructure

UDOT U has developed a central website that acts as a portal leading employees to the learning opportunities offered in the department. Our course catalog, webinar software, and other tools are available for use by all UDOT employees and in most cases outside contractors and consultants.

Providing funding for training

The training budget has steadily increased over the years as our internal groups and subject matter experts have made good use of the funds. This last fiscal year (FY 2014), the budget was double the previous year. This commitment to funding demonstrates senior leaders’ commitment to learning, innovation, and developing employees.

Hopefully, it’s clear that UDOT U is here to serve employees’ and our partners’ learning needs. If there are ways we can help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This guest post was written by Richard Murdock, UDOT U Administrative Vice President, and was orginally published in the UDOT U Summer 2014 newsletter.

Screen shot of the interactive map show details about the Pioneer Crossing Exension

A new interactive projects map will utilize existing GIS layers and add project specific detail for use in meetings with local governments and stakeholders

UDOT Region Three is developing an interactive map to display project information in a GIS format.

Region Three will develop and test its use with plans to launch the GIS map as a statewide resource in the future. Internal staff and technical staff may be accustomed to using GIS, but this map is targeted for use with local government officials and other key stakeholders so that people not familiar with GIS can easily find meaningful information in a public-friendly format.

The map will utilize existing GIS layers and add project-specific details, such as concept and final design, for use in meetings with local governments and stakeholders. A limited number of layers will be pre-selected to keep the map interface simple and easy to use for non-GIS users.

The Interactive Projects Map development team is working toward a June launch date in order to begin using this resource through the summer. As we use the map, we will gather feedback from stakeholders and internal staff alike to refine the map and its functionality. An updated version of the map based on initial feedback is targeted to be launched in November. Link to the map from the UDOT Region Three homepage www.udot.utah.gov/go/region3.

August 25th, 2014

GIS at work: GETTING IT RIGHT

No Comments, Employee Focus, by Catherine Higgins.

A new GIS tool for retrieving right-of-way information is saving time and funding for UDOT.

Photo of GIS street view with colored line showing right of way data.Some of the UDOT Right of Way Division’s responsibilities include acquiring property for the expansion of the transportation system and regulating access to roadways by issuing permits. These important functions involve interaction with property owners and developers who need to know the location of a property line or the type of access granted on a roadway. Sometimes UDOT employees need answers about UDOT-owned property as well.

UDOT ROW employees respond to hundreds of complex inquiries each year. Getting answers used to be very time consuming, according to Randy Smith, UDOT Region Two Right of Way Manager. “It took about twelve hours per each request and up to 3 days to answer each question,” says Smith, because several data bases needed to be thoroughly searched.

Smith worked with UDOT Central Right of Way, UDOT Central GIS, and a team to develop a GIS tool as part of his course work for the Utah Certified Public Manager program offered to state employees.

Searching more easily

Much of the ROW data UDOT maintains is in ProjectWise, an online document storage system. Smith’s team built links that connects the map to ProjectWise documents. “The Arc Map has hyperlinks to ProjectWise and the original source data,” says Smith. Now finding answers takes minutes as opposed to hours or even days.

Called the Right of Way GIS Tool, the new process offers many advantages. It’s a “once-and-done” solution explains Smith, since inquiries are kept in the system to eliminate duplication of effort.

Smith’s team performed a cost-benefit on the system that’s quite impressive. Paying an employee to respond to an inquiry was determined to be $550 per request. UDOT Region Right of Way Two alone gets an average of 350 requests a year. The savings offered by the tool is a whopping $160,000 each year. “It’s an opportunity cost savings,” explains Smith, since employees are now freed up to work, to problem solve or improve processes.

Table showing annual savings of $161,358.75

Future benefits

The tool is only available to UDOT right now, but a tool for the public will be released in the near future. Smith suspects that the volume of questions may go down once people can find information on their own.

Other groups with information stored in ProjectWise may benefit as well. “While we developed this tool specific to right-of-way, we found that the environment is applicable to other disciplines,” Smith says.

For more stories about GIS Tools, see:

UDOT Receives National Award

Consider a Map

Pavement Marking Check-Up

Visit the UDOT Data Portal, a one stop shop for maps, apps and data.