November 28th, 2011

REBUILDING SR-14

2 Comments, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.

A major landslide that closed State Route 14 put a massive rebuilding effort in motion at UDOT.

An aerial photo shows the magnitude of the slide area. Rebuilding the road will involve moving and compacting material to reestablish the road grade.

The substantial area of the slide, huge house-sized boulders and the geology of the area will present challenges to the contractor that will be chosen to rebuild the road. A team of UDOT engineers, along with local design and construction experts, will conduct preliminary investigations and use an innovative contracting method to accelerate the removal of the landslide material in a safe manner, re-establish the stream bed and construct a new road.

David Fadling, UDOT engineer and Lead Geologist, is working with a team of investigators to install monitoring equipment and take samples of the slide material for testing. “Our main concern is stability,” says Fadling. “If the slide is still moving, we would like to know the depth of the sliding.” Inclinometer casing will be installed to monitor lateral movement in the ground. Piezometers will be installed to help locate the depth of ground water in the area.

Fadling’s team will also investigate on site materials in order to to define material properties and to identify the sliding surface. “We suspect shale is the culprit weak layer on which sliding initiated and groundwater is almost surely a contributing factor.”  Shale is a sedimentary rock with fine clay particles.  The type of material and groundwater will be taken into account as engineers plan how to clear the landslide and build the new road.

Moving earth

It is likely the material will be moved from the top of the slide and used to buttress the recovered road grade.

Building the road will involve moving and compacting material to reestablish the road grade. Fadling anticipates that some of the large boulders may have to be blasted and moved with large bulldozers and some will be pushed or rolled down the hill.  “The contractor will likely use gravity as much as possible to assist in moving large blocks of rock,” he says.

It is likely the material will be moved from the top of the slide and used to buttress the recovered road grade. Material used as sub grade for the road will need to be thoroughly compacted to guard against settlement.

Innovative contracting

UDOT’s uses a variety of contracting methods that factor in user costs, encourage innovation and speed, and seek a balance point for everyone, including the contractor and the general public. UDOT will use a Construction Manager General Contractor method for the SR-14 project.

The CMGC contracting process forges a partnership during the design phase among UDOT, the designer working for UDOT, and a competitively selected construction contractor. By using CMGC, UDOT will minimize risk to the contractor, develop a project schedule, identify potential innovations, and determine cost.

After the design phase, the CMGC process allows UDOT  to give the construction contractor involved during design the first opportunity to price the work. An independent cost estimator, along with UDOT’s Engineers Estimate, will be used to evaluate the contractor’s pricing making sure UDOT obtains a fair price.

Alternate routes

UDOT maintenance crews are aware of the importance of SR-14 to road users who access cabins and recreation areas. “Meanwhile, maintenance crews are gearing up to take on Mother Nature on S.R. 143,” states a recent Region Four newsletter article. ” The goal is to keep alternative access to the mountain available with the exception of extreme weather events. ” UDOT will coordinate with the National Park Service and National Forest Service.  Seasonal closures occur on both SR-14 and 148. Consult UDOT’s CommuterLink Website for up-to-date information about seasonal closures.


Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

For more:

  • Here is a Link to the UDOT Region Four Newsletter with a more detailed article.
  • See a video on KSL.com.

 

 

November 24th, 2011

PED SCRAMBLE

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

Matthew Luker, in reflective gear, stands by an open signal box near the U of U. During special events, operators may have to keep close watch on traffic, and sometimes, be on-site to make sure traffic moves smoothly.

UDOT traffic engineers take special care to accommodate vehicle and pedestrian traffic generated by special events.

The holiday season can be challenging with concerts, holiday shopping, Jazz games, happening together and creating “competing demands for the transportation system,” says Matthew Luker, Signal Systems Engineer at UDOT. Preventing gridlock is the job of Luker and other traffic engineers who watch signal operations from a remote location and if required, and trouble-shoot timing at the signal location if necessary.

UDOT’s 1200 signals are operated through a centralized Traffic Operations Center. Signals are synchronized with each other by time of day. Each signal can operate using multiple signal coordination plans that correspond to traffic needs.

Signals are programmed to automatically switch from one signal coordination plan to another throughout the day– for example, signals can be programmed to allow more green light time in the peak traffic-direction during the morning or evening commute.

Pedestrian traffic at the U is accommodated by setting all four signals to the crossing phase at once allowing pedestrians to cross diagonally in a "ped scramble."

Signal operators can program several coordination plans per signal. With 1200 signals to synchronize statewide, creating plans for each signal takes a lot of time and effort.

First, an on-site vehicle count is completed at each intersection. Data from that count is analyzed and engineers draw conclusions that form the basis for each coordination plan.

In addition to programming signal coordination plans, TOC signal operators can also make manual adjustments to help traffic during major incidents or events, such as a crash that blocks travel lanes or a football game that draws fans to the game.

Heavy directional commute traffic can be anticipated each week day but special events throw a monkey wrench into the mix. Often, an evening commute plan will be put in place to accommodate special event traffic. When multiple events coincide, such as a concert and a basketball game in Salt Lake, operators may have to keep close watch on traffic, and sometimes, be on-site to make quick changes.

November 23rd, 2011

MOVE IT ON OVER

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

Using movable barrier in an urban construction zone helped UDOT improve safety and mobility while limiting the duration of construction.

UDOT’s pioneering use of movable barrier on an urban construction project will help UDOT and other departments of transportation employ the effective safety and mobility strategy on projects with similar characteristics.

UDOT recently used moveable concrete barrier – a system that varies directional lane use – during reconstruction of 3500 South between 2700 West and Bangerter Highway in West Valley City. The busy roadway serves a business district and is a key east-west arterial, and movable barrier was used to provide more lanes for commuters during peak travel times.

Having it all – improved safety, better traffic flow and faster construction

The project widened the thoroughfare from two to three lanes in each direction and added two center-dedicated lanes for the Utah Transit Authority’s first Bus Rapid Transit MAX route. While using moveable barrier is common on freeway construction projects – UDOT used a moveable barrier during reconstruction of I-80 through Salt Lake City – urban arterial use is less common.

During the 3500 South project, researcher Douglas Anderson, P.E. of T.Y. Lin International, documented barrier use, collected data and compiled the findings in a study for UDOT. Anderson formerly worked for UDOT as an Engineer for Research and Development and an Engineer for Planning. He has extensive experience evaluating and implementing new technology.

Anderson is pleased to report that using the barrier system improved safety, helped ease traffic flow and supported a faster construction schedule. The method Anderson used to collect and analyze data also provides a pattern for project managers to use when deciding if using moveable barrier is appropriate for other projects.

Project onset

Initially, the project maintenance of traffic plan called for two travel lanes in each direction. Work zone safety and work progression issues prompted UDOT Region Two Director Randy Park and the contractor, Granite Construction, to consider using moveable barrier. Adding the movable barrier meant the construction zone could be expanded by an entire lane width. Once the barrier system was put into operation, workers were provided additional separation from traffic and the construction schedule was accelerated.

Reducing crashes

Anderson used UDOT’s Traffic and Safety database to find crash information specific to the corridor. Prior to reconstruction, between 250 to 260 crashes occurred per year. Forty to 50 of these crashes resulted in an injury to the driver or a passenger. About 80 to 90 left-turn crashes were reported in the corridor per year. Left-turn crashes are more likely to result in injuries than side-swipe or rear-end crashes, which generally lead to property damage only.

The barrier improved safety by eliminating left turns, except at major intersections, resulting in fewer crashes.  Data shows that about 20 to 25 left-turn crashes were eliminated during the time the moveable barrier was in operation. A conservative estimate shows that using the moveable barrier saved road users between $1.7 to 2.4 million by reducing crashes during construction.

Improving traffic flow

The "zipper" provided two lanes in the peak direction during the morning and eventing commute.

The barrier system was used to separate east-bound and west-bound travel lanes, and was moved daily to allow two lanes in the peak direction and one lane in the non-peak direction to safely accommodate the morning and evening commute. While traffic congestion was not improved during construction, using the moveable barrier allowed the traffic to be managed more effectively, explains Anderson. 

Speeding up construction

Reducing the duration of projects is one of the most important ways UDOT limits the inconvenience of construction on road users. Without the use of movable barrier the contractor would have needed to maintain two lanes to two in each direction. Using the moveable barrier provided a larger construction zone which was safer for workers. The enlarged space meant construction could progress more efficiently.

Construction was started in November of 2008 and was scheduled for completion during summer of 2010. Partly as a result of the barrier, the project was completed 7 months ahead of schedule, leaving road users and businesses with a wider, high functioning roadway free of excessive delay.

Award-winning results

The Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation has recognized UDOT as a winner of the 2011 National Roadway Safety Award for using moveable barrier on the 3500 South reconstruction project. The annual award program honors “high achievers in the field of roadway safety” for using and documenting safety best-practices.

“The movable barrier allowed the contractor to strike a balance between traffic and construction needs,” reads Anderson’s final report. UDOT.  Moveable barrier can be “very effective when used on a surface street,” explains Anderson, when high traffic volume, many turning movements and a directional traffic split are characteristics of the roadway. UDOT’s pioneering use of the innovative technology on an urban travel corridor will help UDOT and other departments of transportation employ the effective safety and construction mobility strategy on projects with similar characteristics.

PROJECT DETAILS

Owner: UDOT

Location: 3500 South (State Route 171) from Mile point 5.8 to 7.4.

Report Authors: Doug Anderson, P.E., T.Y. Lin, David Eixenberger, P.E., T.Y. Lin, Ken Berg, P.E. UDOT

Prime Contractor: Granite Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah

Barrier Vendor: Barrier Systems of Vacaville, California

Read the report

Read an article: Seamless Traffic Diversion

November 21st, 2011

COLORADO RIVER BRIDGE

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

A UDOT bridge project has been nominated for an Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award.

Building the US-191 bridges over the Colorado River: balanced cantilever construction, used for the first time in Utah, made a smaller footprint in the environmentally sensitive area.

The OCEAA honors projects that integrate successfully into the local environment, use innovative design and engineering methods, and contribute to stakeholder quality of life. UDOT’s US-191 Bridge over the Colorado River in Moab, Utah is a good example of how the transportation elements of the OCEAA can be made manifest on a sensitive environmental landscape.

Balanced cantilever construction, used for the first time in Utah, made a smaller footprint in the environmentally sensitive area. The arch design and facing materials echo the surrounding red rock landscape. A pedestrian bridge east of the bridge was improved to provide better mobility for walkers and cyclists.

The award winner will be announced March 22 during ASCE’s annual Outstanding Projects and Leaders Awards Gala in Washington.

The project team:

For more about this bridge, read a past blog post with a video that explains the balanced cantilever construction method.

November 18th, 2011

2011 UDOT CONFERENCE WINNERS

No Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.


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November 17th, 2011

2011 UDOT ANNUAL AWARDS

3 Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT employees and teams were recognized for excellent job performance.

Dave Babcock, UDOT 2011 Career Achievement Award Recipient

The annual UDOT Conference is an opportunity to honor employees and private sector partners for bringing outstanding projects into existence – projects that that have improved the transportation options for all who use Utah’s highways and byways.

Many men and women have worked to forward UDOT’s, goals and have thereby helped UDOT to continue to lead the way in transportation design, construction and maintenance innovation.

UDOT 2011 Awards, nominees and winners:

Technician of the Year

This award is presented annually to the individual who, in a supportive role, provides superior technical analysis or problem solving skills that significantly advance the efforts of their discipline and Region team.  The nominees for the 2011 Technician of the Year Award are:

  • Stacey Paskett, Region One
  • David Kelley, Region Two
  • Linda Secklestewa, Region Three
  • Lisa Anderson, Region Four
  • And Mark White, of the I-15 CORE project.

The recipient of the 2009 Technician of the Year Award is Mark White, of the I-15 CORE Project!

Mark joined the I-15 Core team last year and has taken on the roles of both Deputy Segment Manager and Paving Manager.  He has an extraordinary breadth of technical experience, including an extensive surveying background.  Mark knows and understands UDOT requirements and is a respected, preeminent resource for all construction-related materials issues, including asphalt binder, portland cement concrete, hot-mix asphalt, and untreated granular materials.  In fact, he has more experience and knowledge of portland cement concrete pavement than almost anyone else in UDOT.

Mark is regularly called on to work through every asphalt and concrete challenge there is – about 1.6 million square yards worth to date, and he has over five million square yards of concrete paving experience.  Additionally, he is asked to help determine the solution to any other materials question, and he has not only met but usually exceeds the lofty expectations placed on him.

It’s for this kind of dedication to his work that Mark White has earned the 2011 Technician of the Year Honors.

Congratulations to Mark White, UDOT Technician of the Year!

2011 UDOT Consultant of the Year

This award is presented to a consulting firm who, in representing UDOT publicly, or working for the agency in some other capacity, went beyond the expected to help energize the public, a project, or project team, and whose efforts provided USOT with extraordinary value and assistance.

Whether it is the management of a construction project, outstanding contracting, design or engineering work, or public involvement-related problem-solving efforts, UDOT relies on a variety of consultants to help us carry our load each year.  This year’s nominees are noteworthy by their accomplishments in the past year. The nominees for 2011 Consultant of the Year are:

  • The construction management division of Stanley Consultants, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Stanley was nominated by Region 1 for their work this past year on the South Layton Interchange, the SR-252/Tenth West Reconstruction in Logan, and the North Ogden Divide project.  In the past, they also played an instrumental role in the I-15 New Ogden-Weber Reconstruction project in Weber County.
  • T-E-A Group, Salt Lake City, Utah, nominated by Region 2 for its expertise in interstate concrete rehabilitation projects, and contract negotiation and scheduling skills.
  • H-D-R Engineering, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Nominated by Region 3, HDR and engineer Jose Luis Rodriguez are highlighted for their design build management, and Diverging Diamond Interchange design work.
  • H.W. Lochner, Salt Lake City, Utah.  Lochner has been nominated by Region 4 for the work of Brent Jensen this past year, and their extensive design and construction experience in transportation and general civil engineering.
  • H-N-T-B, of Salt Lake City, Utah.  Nominated by I-15 CORE project for its work in reviewing the advantages and challenges of various design-build project delivery strategies, their recommendation of procurement approaches for this massive project.

Congratulations to the T-E-A Group! 

T-E-A Group has become an expert at interstate concrete rehabilitation projects, which are completed mostly at night to minimize disruptions to traffic, and are difficult under the best conditions.  Darren Rosenstein and the T-E-A team understands that one of UDOT’s main interests is to minimize disruptions to the traveling public during construction, and they are vigilant in making sure the contractor is only closing lanes during allowed times, and when a lane closure is absolutely necessary.  T-E-A Group is also among the best at negotiating with the contractors and getting a fair price for the work.  While changes are inherent to major construction projects, it takes superior analysis, experience, and negotiation to be able to get a good price, and T-E-A Group has helped saved thousands in change order costs due to their estimating and negotiating skills.

T-E-A Group is very adept at understand project schedules, and keeps a close watch on the quantities being used by contractors to avoid over-runs.  Their quantities tracking system ensures accurate tracking and management of project supplies.   This allows project managers to skillfully manage financial resources, ensuring key project areas have those resources they always need.

Congratulations to TEA Group, UDOT Consultant of the Year!

2011 UDOT Professional of the Year

  • Ryan Halverson, nominated by Region 1
  • Ryan Williams, nominated by Region 2
  • Dale Ashcraft, nominated by Region 3
  • Eric Hansen, nominated by Region 4
  • Frank Pisani, nominated by Systems Planning and Programming.

The recipient of the 2011 Professional of the Year Award is Ryan Williams, nominated by Region 2.

A Utah native, Ryan is a 2005 graduate of the University of Utah with a degree in Business Administration.  Ryan came to UDOT in March of 2008 as a financial analyst, and is a very diligent worker who is vigilant to seek out areas where precious funds can be saved, or where he can be of assistance to others.  Ryan has personally been responsible for several initiatives that have saved over $260,000, showing that he really goes the extra mile for UDOT and the State.

Congratulations to Ryan Williams, UDOT’s 2011 Professional of the Year!

2011 UDOT Team of the Year Award

  • The Region 1 Signals Maintenance Team— Dale Lake, Scott Harris, Dave Townsend and Jeremy Fullmer.
  • Region 2’s Environmental Section, consisting of Becky Stromness, Mason Palmer, Peter Steele and Jennifer Elsken
  • Region 3’s Parker Construction Crew —Manned by Matt Parker, Marco Palacios, Andy Anderson, Kurtis Park, and Mike Rymer
  • Region 4’s Assets Analysts— Mike Blotter and Gale Davis
  • I-15 Corridor Expansion Traffic Management Team— Rob Clayton, Eric Rasband, Glenn Blackwelder, Bryan Chamberlain, Mark Taylor, Grant Jackson, Larry Montoya, Scott Smith, Mike Merkley and Kelly Ash
  • Operation’s Maintenance Innovations and Efficiency Team, consisting of Tim Ularich, Ken Berg, Jessica Andrews, Shauna Lindsey, Lynn Bernhard and Lloyd Neeley

The I-15 CORE’s Traffic Management Team is UDOT’s Team of the Year.

The I-15 CORE Traffic Management Team has formed regional and local partnerships, used intelligent contractor selection, participated in active corridor management, and utilized cutting edge public information efforts to overcome a variety of challenges in ensuring relatively smooth traffic movement while helping to pull off the largest construction project in state of Utah’s history.

Congratulations to all the members of the I-15 CORE Traffic Management Team, UDOT’s 2011 Team of the Year!

2011 UDOT Safety Project of the Year

  • The US-91 Concrete Median Barrier Project, from milepost 14 in Wellsville Canyon to milepost 16 in Mt. Sterling, nominated by Region 1.
  • The I-80 Cable Median Barrier Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The US-189 Provo Canyon Median Improvements Project, nominated by Region 3

The winner of the 2011 UDOT Safety Project of the Year Award is US-189 Provo Canyon Median Improvements Project, nominated by Region 3. 

The US-189 in Provo Canyon median barrier system is designed to effectively catch and contain vehicles that could cross-over the median and cause deadly collisions.  The entire system also allows maintenance personnel to wait until a storm subsides and conditions are safer in order to make repairs. The entire project represents a significant improvement in safety to the benefit of all motorists who will drive this scenic route.

Congratulations to Region Three, for being awarded the UDOT Safety Project of the Year!

Rural Project of the Year

  •  I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation Project, nominated by Region 1
  • The I-80 Summit Park Bridges Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The U.S. 40 Daniel Summit to Soldier Creek Pavement Rehabilitation Project, nominated by Region 3
  • US-191, Milepost 12 to 21 Crack Repair Project, nominated by Region 4

The winner of the 2011 Rural Project of the Year is I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation, nominated by Region 1.

The purpose of this project was very basic: to remove and replace the bridge decks on the twin bridges of Structure F-114, just 8/10ths of a mile east of Taggart in Morgan County.  The Overland Route of the Union Pacific Railroad sees from 18 to 30 trains a day, with trains passing through the project 15 minutes during peak service times.  Additionally, I-84 itself is a heavily traveled truck route. These issues caused several challenges with the construction phasing and scheduling on the project, especially since the project had to come to a fully stop while each train passed through the project limits.

Congratulations to Region One and the I-84 Taggart Bridges Rehabilitation Project Team, Winners of the 2011 Rural Project of the Year Award!

2011 Urban Project of the Year

  • The South Layton Interchange Project, nominated by Region 1.
  • The 114th South: State Street to Bangerter Highway and new I-15 Interchange Project, nominated by Region 2
  • The Mountain View Corridor 2100 North Project, nominated by Region 3
  • And the Fast-Fix Concrete Rehabilitation and Replacement project, nominated by Operations

The winner of the 2011 Urban Project of the Year is the South Layton Interchange Project, nominated by Region One.

UDOT Urban Project Winners

Construction of the South Layton Interchange is a Single Point Urban Interchange, valued at $97.5 million, and constructed by Ralph L. Wadsworth Construction Company. Construction included two major ABC bridge structures built over I-15 in two hydraulic jack-launched sections; and one structure built conventionally over the Union Pacific and UTA FrontRunner rail corridor, incorporating pre-cast deck sections.  Additionally, the project included the complete reconstruction of Layton Main Street.

The project opened to traffic six months ahead of the original schedule, exhibiting the cohesive relationship that existed between the construction team and UDOT. This benefits highway users and will strengthen the economy in this area for years and years to come.

Congratulations to Region One and the South Layton Interchange Project, winner of the 2011 Urban Project of the Year Award!

2011 Engineer of the Year Award

  • Nathan Peterson, nominated by Region 1
  • Lisa Baird, nominated by Region 2
  • Matt Parker, nominated by Region 3
  • Braden Andersen, nominated by Region 4
  • John Butterfield, nominated by the I-15 CORE Project.
  • Matthew Luker, nominated by Operations.
  • And Matt Swapp, nominated by Systems Planning and Programming.

The recipient of the 2011 Engineer of the Year Award is John Butterfield, of the I-15 CORE Project.

John Butterfield, center is the UDOT 2011 Engineer of the Year

John joined UDOT after running a successful construction company focused primarily on concrete placement and finishing, where he developed a very practical common-sense understanding of construction materials.  While working full time at the Department, he obtained his civil engineering degree, and has continued on to become a licensed professional engineer.

John has served as the pavement engineer for the I-15 Reconstruction Project in Salt Lake County, as the Chief Construction Engineer, the Region 2 Materials Engineer, and is currently the Materials and Paving Engineer for the I-15 CORE Project.

With I-15 CORE building about a million dollars of highway per day at a breakneck pace, the materials challenges inherent in any project become even more amplified.   But John’s experience and technical expertise has allowed Provo River Constructors to innovate and provide a high-quality product exceeding UDOT’s standards, while also meeting its demanding timeline.  John has redefined cold-weather paving to better consider the influence of cold subgrade on the curing of concrete, and has established new parameters for Open Graded Base acceptance.  And, he’s done all of this while overseeing the materials testing on the project, aiding the Regions and other projects in their own materials challenges, helping in the development of the new UDOT standards, and continuing to serve as a resource to the construction industry.

In sports, some players simply transcend the team, making contributions so critical on a daily basis that they are not only sought, but truly needed to win.  Like Michael Jordan, the legendary basketball MVP, John Butterfield makes these needed contributions every day.  Because of his tremendous skill and expertise, he could probably receive the UDOT Engineer of the Year award on an annual basis.

Congratulations to John Butterfield, UDOT’s 2011 Engineer of the Year!

2011 UDOT Career Achievement Award

  • Patty Jones, nominated by Region 1
  • Daniel Betts, nominated by Region 2
  • Glen Wahlberg, nominated by Region 3
  • Dave Babcock, nominated by Region 4

The winner of the 2011 Career Achievement Award is Dave Babcock, UDOT Region 4.

Dave grew up in Helper, Utah, a town known for railroads and coal mining. Dave started his career with UDOT 36 years ago as a highway operations specialist at station number 435 at Colton, north of Price on US-6.

Over the years, Dave worked his way up in the Colton shed, eventually becoming Station Supervisor in 1983.  He held this position until 1997, when he became the Area Supervisor responsible for the Colton station and three other maintenance facilities.   In this position, Dave’s many years of maintenance experience have paid off, as he is able to point out many aspects in the design process of projects that made finished product more maintenance friendly.

With Dave’s thorough understanding of maintenance and snow removal, he has been able to suggest many minor adjustments to project designs that resulted in long-term maintenance savings.  He’s also a big believer in value engineering teams, and he’s taught his station supervisors that they have a lot to contribute to project development, and encourages them to actively participate on project teams in their area.

An avid sportsman, Dave is also concerned about ways to help reduce wildlife strikes on state roadways, and one idea he has advocated for is the installation of electric cattle guards in lieu of the traditional double cattle guards. He also designed a delineator-mounted bracket to allow the region’s “Road Work Ahead” signing to be mounted on delineator posts, and saw it through the national crash test process to get it approved to use in daily maintenance operations.

In 2009 Dave became the first Region 4 Fleet Manager. His first goal was to find equipment in Region 4 that was not being utilized, or in failing mechanical condition and getting rid of it. In all, 60 pieces of equipment were removed from the Region 4 fleet, allowing the savings to be used on better equipment. He has initiated an equipment awards program for the Region, and spends many hours inspecting equipment, and rewarding those who are the top in each category.

The new Tie Fork rest area pays homage to the railroad history. Dave grew up around in Helper, and he was instrumental in the development of the theme and layout. Dave also helped design the model locomotive added to the rest area, which bears the number 435.  This little touch is in honor of his first job at old number 435, the Colton Station

Congratulations to Dave Babcock, the recipient of UDOT’s 2011 Career Achievement Award!

November 16th, 2011

TOGETHER WE’RE BETTER

No Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras stressed upcoming areas of focus, agency accomplishments, communication and supporting the local business community in a speech at the general session at the UDOT Conference.

Braceras identified two areas of future focus: Signal timing and bridge replacement. A Quality Team evaluation of signals in the state shows that re-timing needs to be done on an ongoing basis have the most beneficial impact on improving traffic flow. To accomplish the benefits of having optimally timed signals, UDOT will combine central signal maintenance and timing operations, and add staff positions to the Traffic Operations Center will augment that effort.

UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras mentioned four projects and praised team members who are guiding the projects to completion – all will be completed on time and under budget

Bridges in the state are in good shape. However, many bridges are reaching their useful life and need to be replaced. Capacity projects have allowed UDOT to replace many bridges, however, 40 to 60 year old bridges still in operation need to be replaced at 50 per year. Many older bridges need significant rehabilitation.

Private sector partnership

UDOT projects impact the local economy by working with 602 companies and over 12 thousand employees. Supporting the local economy through working with private industry will be an central focus of communication efforts and how UDOT works with local businesses during construction.

Notable projects

Braceras mentioned one project for each of four UDOT Regions and praised team members who are guiding the projects to completion – all will be completed on time and under budget.

  • Geneva Road extends and expands a five lane section of roadway in Utah County
  • Ogden 12th Street, Washington to Harrison rehabilitates pavement on the busy arterial.
  • 4100 South and Bangerter Highway, part of the Bangerter 2.0 project group, improves west to east travel in Salt Lake County.
  • Two signals in Moab were completed very quickly and expertly in three months time.

 Communication

Braceras gave an overview of a communication plan in formation – while the work to form the plan is not complete, some good information has been obtained through research conducted among UDOT employees and the general public.

Overall, UDOT enjoys a positive image among members of the general public. People who were questioned see UDOT as innovative, and road users see benefits of work done to improve traffic flow.

Feed back from the general public included good and not-so-good comments. Road users named the Express Pass and the ABC-move-into-place bridges as benefits to travel. Frustrations include too many projects at once, and barrels and cones in place when no apparent work is taking place.

UDOT leaders will use the information obtained to build a communication plan for internal and external use. Employees will be involved in communicating UDOT’s message – to friends, family, neighbors – every one at UDOT will be a communicator. And, since some customer groups have expressed a desire to hear about the good work done by UDOT, more time will be spend bragging, said Braceras.

To support a better communication with employees, Braceras has opened a Twitter account and will tweet regularly. Follow Carlos on Twitter at @carlosudot.

Taking Care of Business

With the addition of a new strategic goal, UDOT will have the opportunity to step back and evaluate what projects mean to the local community. Project Managers, Resident Engineers and all project team members need to understand businesses on the construction corridor during and after construction. Braceras charged the listening audience – largely UDOT employees and private sector partners, to evaluate “everything we do” and think carefully how work can be accomplished more effectively ad efficiently.

November 15th, 2011

NEW FINAL FOUR

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

Four statements that underscore UDOT’s responsibility as custodian of the state transportation system have been re-tooled to meet the changing technological, political and economic climate.

UDOT Director John Njord

The “Final Four,” statements that sum up UDOT’s core responsibilities, have been learned and recited by UDOT employees for nearly a decade. Now the components of the old statements have been shifted, and a new goal has been added, to give an updated emphasis to what it means to improve the transportation system.

UDOT Director John Njord introduced the new goals at the Annual Conference this week.

Times change, and backed by advice given by former Governor Mike Leavitt, UDOT Director John Njord has opted to “lead change and prosper.”

“When I consider where we are as a department, I believe we are leading change and for the most part, we are prospering.”

Njord listed the new goals:

  1. Preserve Infrastructure — Our primary goal is to take care of the transportation infrastructure. The most effective way to preserve the transportation system is to maintain a regular schedule of up-keep to prevent deterioration.
  2. Optimize Mobility — The former goals, Increasing Capacity and Make the System Work will be combined into a new goal, Optimize Mobility, which will incorporate making improvements that reduce delay on freeways, at intersections and along major corridors and judiciously expanding system capacity.
  3. Improve Safety — Safety will always be a core responsibility of UDOT. That work includes improving safety on roads as well as work sites.
  4. Strengthen the Economy — “The work we do is fundamental to a strong economy,” said Njord. While prosperity is the role of the private sector,  “government can however facilitate, enable and in some cases, stimulate and in the case of our business, we can actually strengthen economic prosperity.”

UDOT Director John Njord outlined new strategic goals at the UDOT Conference.

Keeping a proper focus

Njord pointed out that while the economic path ahead is uncertain, one certainty does exist for all who work for a better system. “Let’s not focus on those things we cannot control but, rather focus first on the things completely within our control and work our way out from there,” said Njord.

“Let’s make sure that at the end of our work, communities in which we perform can honestly say they would have us back to do it again.”

Njord said UDOT and valued partners in the local transportation industry have proven to be the “gold standard” in work accomplished during the past year. “I have great confidence in your abilities to tackle whatever comes next.”

Read the full text of Njord’s speech here: Njord address at 2011 UDOT Conference .

November 15th, 2011

ROBERT BENNETT

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

The development of America transportation infrastructure has formed the basis of our economic, political and social way of  life.

Former U.S Senator Robert F. Bennett spoke at the annual UDOT Conference today

Former Senator Robert Bennett has been an interested and astute witness to the history of the modern interstate highway system. In an engaging narrative at the UDOT Annual Conference, Bennett told how he began his political career working for President Lyndon B. Johnson as the Director of the office of Congressional Relations. The Department of Transportation was a “tinker toy box” of various components. His job was to put the office together.

During the time he worked in the Johnson Administration, he met Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who would later become the Senator from New York. Moynihan was a great thinker, writer, statesman and historian. While some people believe the core changes in the modern American way of life were facilitated by later presidential administrations, Moynihan gave the credit for change to Eisenhower, said Bennett. By developing the interstate highway system, “Eisenhower changed America more fundamentally” than did Johnson or Kennedy.

Before the interstate highways, travel from state to state was largely accomplished on trains. “Wonderful four-lane highways” replaced train travel as people saw car travel as more convenient. As highways spread across the nation, goods became more readily available, people could be more mobile and the economy blossomed.

Bennett expressed his optimism for the economic and political future. He is looking forward to economic recovery and noted that transportation will be a part of the eventual economic upswing.

“One of the keys to recovery will be the economic contribution made by a good transportation system — intelligently planned, soundly built and properly maintained,” according to Bennett. “And that is the business you are in and I salute you for it.”

November 11th, 2011

SMART KIDS

1 Comment, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

A class of sixth graders from Morning Side Elementary is making wise travel choices.

Students took center stage at a kick-off event with a songs presentation aimed at motivating others to care about the air we all breathe.

In an effort to cut back on emissions and save energy, the students have been trip chaining, carpooling, walking to school and using UDOT’s TravelWise Tracker to chart how many trips are saved as a result of those wise choices.

The four week effort was in preparation for the “Care to Clear the Air” campaign, which invites Wasatch Front residents to choose strategies that reduce emissions during the winter inversion season. Students took center stage at a kick-off event with a songs presentation aimed at motivating others to care about the air we all breathe.

Utah’s Division of Air Quality monitors pollutants along the Wasatch Front throughout the year and issues green, yellow and red alerts. Inversions happen when cold air is trapped below warm air between the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges. Pollution from cars or other sources, such as wood burning stoves, can sit on the valley floor until the weather patterns shift– that change could take several days.

DAQ encourages drivers to take actions to curb pollution during red alert days. UDOT’s TravelWise website lists strategies that can help drivers curb trips, reduce traffic congestion and save energy during inversion season or any time of year.

Each of us has a chance to make small choices that eventually add up to big results.

The TravelWise Tracker is an online tool that lets users calculate the amount of energy and emissions saved by using alternatives to driving alone. Even small changes can save emissions, time and energy.

“You guys are the next generation of leaders,” said Charlie Lansche, who spoke at the event on behalf of Fidelity Investments. Fidelity is representative of hundreds of businesses that have participated in the annual summer Clear the Air Challenge. By using TravelWise strategies, Fidelity employees saved 11 thousand trips that added up to 320 thousand pounds of emissions.

Lansche and others at the event encouraged area residents to pay heed to the kids. “I can’t think of better spokespersons,” said Lansche of the enthusiastic group of students.

Check back to see an upcoming blog post about the trips and emissions saved by the students and their families.

For more:

  • Sign up to use the TravelWise Tracker
  • Road users who adopt TravelWise strategies can see many benefits including enjoying a less stress-free commute or a more economical use of time when running errands
  • Get air quality alerts on your smart phone by texting “cleartheair” to 69302
  • Check current air quality conditions
  • Read a past post about how UDOT conforms to air quality standards