Photo of a tanker truck going down the road.

A tanker drives through a pavement project on U.S. 40 in Vernal — one strategy to meet future transportation needs in the Uinta Basin is to define a standard cross section for consistent lane widths and shoulders.

UDOT Region Three has a leadership role in planning for the future transportation needs of the Uinta Basin, including Uintah and Duchesne counties.

With planned growth in the Basin, the Uinta Rail and Roads project was initiated to look at different transportation options to enhance economic development.

Craig Hancock, Region Three Engineering Manager, is leading the roads analysis, which is scheduled to be complete late-summer. The project team has been evaluating data including traffic volumes, crash data and pavement conditions in order to prioritize future projects. The results of the study will be incorporated into UDOT’s Long Range Planning process.

John Thomas, Region Three Engineering Manager, is leading the rail EIS project team, which is preparing to publish a Notice of Intent later this year to formally begin the environmental study.

As a rail project, the study will have a different joint-lead than FHWA and likely follow different guidelines and procedures from typical UDOT environmental studies. A draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is anticipated in 2016.

Photo of various individuals from Region 2 and the TOC posing with Carlos and Marge.Marge is being nominated for the Silver Barrel award because of her dedication and her positive attitude. A lot of Marge’s work goes unnoticed when really, her decisions affect UDOT and the traveling public on a daily basis. Marge is always willing to help with any safety or traffic issue. When Marge helps with a project, she gets deeply involved and tries to understand the problem at the very root. This includes field visits to see the problem firsthand, where she will either put the maintenance station in contact with the right person, or she will follow-up personally to correct the issue. Marge has helped solve several problems, everything from mid-block pedestrian crossings to correct signing, to potentially dangerous roadway issues.

Some of Marge’s most recent and note-worthy projects include:

  • The coordination with Draper City on the re-striping of 700 East from 11400 South to 11800 South to include the extension of bike lanes.
  • Coordination with Park City and Summit County on sign and signal issues throughout the S.R. 224 / S.R. 248 corridor.
  • School zone safety project on 700 East.

Marge balances the work that has to be performed and the needs of the public, and is always very customer-oriented. Marge’s hard work has prevented many accidents and potentially saved many lives. The Department is lucky to have someone like Marge on the team!

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination written by Danny Page and Jake Brown.

July 2nd, 2014

UDOT Traffic Alerts

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Lisa Miller.

Screen shot of the My Alerts webpageThe Utah Department of Transportation Traffic Management Division has enhanced the UDOT Traffic Alerts program. Now, motorists can receive customized email, text or push notifications to help them stay informed regarding lane closures due to construction, crashes and weather.

The new UDOT Traffic Alerts program allows motorists to customize their profile and receive alerts for specific routes and times of day. In addition to lane closure information, a profile can be customized to receive seasonal road closure information, Amber Alert notifications, TravelWise Alerts for major impacts and Emergency Alerts for critical closure information.

To customize your profile and start receiving alerts, visit www.udottraffic.utah.gov and click on the “MY  UDOT Traffic Alerts” tab in the upper right corner. Then, register your device and begin selecting your notifications. If you have questions, please contact askudottraffic@utah.gov.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why must I register?

  • Registration gives you the ability to fully customize your experience within our website. As a registered user, you may choose the maps you wish to display, along with a host of other options to give you the information you need, right now. Note: both your username and email address must be unique.

How does the system work?

  • Once you have specified your My UDOT Traffic settings, you have the option to view your custom page rather than the default view. Users may change their options at any time.

Will my email address be given to any third parties?

  • No! Your email address is gathered for the sole purpose of uniquely identifying your account, and will not be disseminated to any third parties under any circumstances.

Additional Information:

  • Cell phone numbers and cell phone service providers are needed for sending UDOT Traffic Alert text messages to My UDOT Traffic users. Signing up for UDOT Traffic Alert text messages is optional.
  • UDOT does not provide personal information about our website visitors to any third parties for any purpose.

Last summer’s Drainage Improvements project on Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon was recently recognized with the Excellence in Concrete Award from the Intermountain Chapter of the American Concrete Institute. The award recognized the team of UDOT, H.W. Lochner, W.W. Clyde and its subcontractors, and Geneva Pipe and Precast for designing, casting, and installing the new culvert adjacent to I-80. This drainage project, which was completed in fall 2013, installed more than 10,500 feet of 66-inch reinforced concrete pipe along a two-mile segment of I-80 near the mouth of Parleys Canyon. Crews also installed 6,700 linear feet of median and lateral drains, along with 80 concrete box structures. The new drainage system, with a 100-year design life, replaces the original corrugated metal pipe that was installed prior to construction of I-80 in the 1960s.

As many of the pipe sections are fabricated with slight differences to accommodate elevation changes or curves in the two mile-long culvert, each section had to be placed in exactly the right spot. The pipe included beveled segments, where the spigot end of the pipe had a slight bevel to the left or right, as well as straight segments. These segments allowed the pipe to bend gradually to match the grade and curves of the roadway. To install each segment, an on-site surveyor took measurements to ensure both vertical and horizontal alignment.

Significant challenges faced by the project team included maintenance of traffic – 45,000 cars each day traveled through the work zone – and the solid rock of the canyon, which required blasting in several locations merely feet away from the edge of pavement. In total, 10 separate blasts were carried out, for a total of more than 2,200 linear feet. The project was completed under the $11.8M budget just in time to suit the unique weather and stream flow conditions in the canyon.

According to the ACI Intermountain Chapter, the ACI Excellence in Concrete Awards “recognizes the innovative and aesthetic uses of concrete by owners, architects, engineers, contractors and ready mix producers.” This award is the latest recognition of the combined efforts of UDOT and the contractor team to meet challenges and complete a quality project that will benefit Utahans for years to come.

Also check out this post about the project from last year: Parley’s Canyon Pipe Replacement.

Photo of flooding along the shoulder and into one lane of of Bangerter HighwaySeveral individuals from Region Two and West Valley City’s Public Works group recently received a Silver Barrel award for partnering to control and resolve flooding on Bangerter Highway. On January 30th, a pool of water began to appear on the outside lanes of Bangerter, between 2400 South and 2700 South. The water started to encroach into the center lanes, damaging pavement and quickly becoming a safety hazard. Rex Black, who was working his first shift as the Station 224 supervisor, was quick to act, putting his years of working knowledge into effect. He and Area Supervisor, Kevon Ogden tried to identify the cause of the flooding, but it began to get dark, and the loss of daylight made it next to impossible to find the cause.

Although they had been plowing snow since 4 a.m. that morning, Mark Prows and Auston Bagley from Station 2427 showed up with their shed’s vactor to assist. They worked tirelessly that afternoon and all evening to keep the road clear of excess water, until approximately 8 p.m. when the vactor broke down. A second and third vactor were dropped off to keep the roads clear, but both were out of service by 3 a.m. despite the best efforts of the UDOT Mechanic crew.

The next morning, Sovann Ok, Region Two’s Hydraulics Engineer, left a family celebration to bring the drainage drawings to the crew and provide engineering assistance. They reviewed the drawings together, and Sovann climbed into several drainage ditches to find where there might be a blockage causing the flooding.

Photo of a UDOT truck, pump and maintenance work on Bangerter Highway working to remove flood waters from the highway.Rex requested the assistance of West Valley’s Public Works department, and Darin Burke, Fred Benson and Terry Wilks arrived with the city’s working vactor and their copy of the drainage drawings, and helped UDOT determine that the flooding was caused by a blocked drain in a detention pond nearly a mile downstream from where the flooding had occurred.

West Valley used their vactor to clean the drains, while UDOT crews worked with the backhoe to clean the outlet. One rental pump was used to move water from the road into a nearby field, while a second pump was used to pump water through the opening of the outlet to the detention pond to allow it to drain. By the afternoon, the road was able to be reopened just in time for the evening commute.

Additional measures were taken in order to prevent this scenario from happening again. Holes were drilled into the top of the catch basin to catch any overflowing from the pond in the future. By utilizing the resources around them, working around the clock and partnering with outside entities, these individuals kept the traveling public safe and on the go.

This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel nomination that was submitted to the UDOT Administration Office.

Photo of Executive Director with Thomas and LorenAt 2:30 p.m, Friday April 25, 2014, two UDOT Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) maintenance crew members were pulling communications cable at 2600 South and 700 East in Salt Lake City. This project is being coordinated with Salt Lake City in an effort to establish radio communications with some of Salt Lake City’s traffic signals.

While performing this routine duty, Thomas Hammon and Loren Jackson noticed an eldery man in distress. Thomas and Loren were not the first good Samaritans on the scene, however when they arrived, they were able to take charge of the situation and assist the man. Thomas spoke with the 911 dispatch operator while Loren attended to the elderly man who was now laying on the ground. Loren was able to give vital signs to Thomas who relayed the information to the 911 operator. Shortly after arriving at the scene, the elderly man did not have a pulse, so Loren checked the airway for obstructions and began CPR. Loren and Thomas tag-teamed the CPR for 7 to 10 minutes before United Fire Station #101 and Gold Cross Ambulance arrived on the scene. After being relieved from CPR, Thomas and Loren gave statements of the incident to Salt Lake Police and resumed their job duties.

Loren and Thomas have both taken advantage of the free CPR training offered through UDOT and put it to good use. Loren and Thomas acted quickly and took control of this situation. JT Dziatlik supervises Loren and Thomas and said, “Loren and Tom went above and beyond their job descriptions trying to save a life. They are an excellent example of UDOT employees who make a difference in everyday life.”

Photo of the Award of ExcellenceA multidisciplinary team at UDOT recently received national recognition for developing the Outdoor Advertising Control Map.

The Highway Beautification Act of 1965 gave state departments of transportation the responsibility of enforcing rules governing outdoor advertising, aka billboards. UDOT has developed an online mapping system that helps the general public and UDOT staff to efficiently identify the location of all highways where outdoor advertising is controlled, and where all permitted billboards are located along these controlled highways.

In April, UDOT became one of only three states to receive a national award from the National Alliance of Highway Beautification Agencies for developing this innovative mapping system.

The following statewide team collaborated to bring this award winning map to life:

DTS

  • Monty King

Central ETS/GIS

  • Becky Hjelm
  • Frank Pisani

Central Right-of-Way

  • Lyle McMillian
  • Krissy Plett
  • Rod McDaniels

Project Development Administration

  • Randy Park
  • Lisa Wilson

Region Permitting Operations

  • Tommy Vigil
  • Nacey Wilson
  • Nazee Treweek
  • Mark Velasquez
  • Tony Lau
  • Rux Rowland
  • Rhett Arnell
  • Dale Stapley
  • Steve Kunzler
  • Scott Snow

Central Attorney General’s Office

  • Renee Spooner

Central Asset Management

  • Stan Burns
  • Kelli Bacon
  • Abdul Wakil
  • Peter Bigelow

Risk Management

  • Brandi Trujillo

For more information about the the map check out Show Me a Sign.

Thank you to Rod McDaniels for his help writing this post.

June 18th, 2014

Auto-generated summary sheets

No Comments, Preserve Infrastructure, by Catherine Higgins.
Photo of John Guymon

John Guymon, UDOT Rotational Engineer

For each roadway preservation or rehabilitation project, UDOT designers fill out a summary sheet that provides a tally of measurements and material quantities needed for the project. Collecting data on-site, compiling data and figuring quantities can take a week or more. “You go out into the field with a wheel and tape, and you measure everything,” says UDOT rotational engineer John Guymon. His work to integrate online data with a spreadsheet is helping UDOT designers work more efficiently.

Guymon used coding and Microsoft Excel to create a form that uses asset management data and standard formulas for figuring material quantities to populate the summary sheet. The data sets are housed in the UDOT Data Portal, UDOT’s online data repository.

The Auto Report Generator is simple to use, and works along with the Linear Bench tool, both accessible on the UDOT Data Portal. Step-by-step instructions are available with the form. Once produced, the summary sheet shows:

  • Pavement type, surface area and material amounts for granular borrow and base course. The pavement type generated in the report is specific to the region, since climate differences around the state call for different pavement types.
  • Barrier in the project area, including location, total feet, and post type, all sorted into standard and non-standard types to show any areas in need of full replacement.
  • Signs, including location, sign type, size and any damage present during data collection.
  • Pavement marking type, paint amounts, messages, and rumble strips or grooved-in paint.

Once the summary sheet has been populated, the sheet can be used to verify measurements, barrier type, roadway geometry, pavement messages, etc.

So far, the new form has been downloaded over 600 times since it became available, about two months ago, and users have become instant fans. Kendall Draney says that one advantage is that using the form keeps employees out of harm’s way. Draney used the form as a design rotational engineer in Region Three. Sometimes getting measurements necessitates a dash across a busy roadway. “It’s really nice to have something that you’re using to verify,” says Draney. “It’s much safer to be on the shoulder.”

Engineering Tech IV Lynda Seckletstewa likes the consistency of the quantity amounts generated by the reports and “quantities for the existing features pulled by the report generator are within 2% of field quantities.”

The reports also provide “an instant checklist for field reviews,” says Seckletstewa. “Generated notes for various features point out deficiencies that we may have otherwise overlooked.”

The new summary form is an example of how UDOT is making good use of data collected on everything on a state roadway that can be viewed through a car window. “I didn’t realize how useful the Mandli data would be,” says Guymon. He views the tool as a first effort that can be improved over time.

Find out about other ways to view data, including the Linear Bench and Highway Reference Online, on the UDOT Data Portal.

Read about the Mandli data-gathering effort here.

Photo of UDOT and Region leadership with Brian and Colton.Colton Peterson is assigned to the Salina Maintenance Station but was asked by his supervisor, Brian Quarnberg, to help with facility management within Region 4 since he has previous work experience in this arena. Brian had the foresight to notice the building maintenance needs within the Region and immediately offered Colton’s services. Colton accepted the challenge and worked tirelessly in getting the buildings in the best shape possible for the Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM) inspections.

As a result of Brian’s unselfish attitude and Colton’s efforts the Oak Springs Rest Area on S.R. 24 near Fish Lake and the Pines Rest Area on S.R. 12 near Bryce Canyon have been improved, refurbished and were ready for opening. The Hoover’s Rest Area on U.S. 89 near Marysvale has been painted and refurbished and handed over to the new facility management contractors. Many region upgrades have been put in place thanks to Colton and the new facilities coordinator has been trained on UDOT procedures and systems.

Brian and Colton have shown themselves to be an example to others in regards to UDOT’s strategic goals, and Region 4 would certainly have experienced budget issues without their leadership and team work.

This guest post is from the Silver Barrel Award nominations written by Tim Walden, Region 4 Administrative Services Manager.

June 16th, 2014

Optimizing Mobility

No Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Adan Carrillo.

As we continually look for ways to improve our processes with the ultimate goal of keeping drivers moving on Utah’s roads, UDOT has deployed a number of technological tools that align with our strategic direction to preserve infrastructure, optimize mobility, reach our goal of zero fatalities, and strengthen the economy. I wanted to particularly emphasize what we are currently doing as a department in regards to our goal of optimizing mobility, which, in our day and age, no longer only applies to people’s ability to keep moving but also to their ability to do things as they are moving (but not driving), via phone apps.

These UDOT phone apps are allowing citizens to perform a variety of tasks, like reporting road conditions directly to operators at the Traffic Operations Center (TOC), or finding out what kind of delays to expect due to construction projects, and receiving severe weather event warnings. In addition to this ever evolving field of mobile technology, we continue to rely on innovative projects based on traffic models and engineering to not only improve mobility, but also safety, which in turn helps us achieve our goal of Zero Fatalities. Last year, Region Two completed several projects that illustrate exactly how we continue to optimize mobility through road and signal technologies.

MOBILE TECHNOLOGY

UDOT Traffic

Screen shot of UDOT Traffic app
UDOT Traffic is the department’s portal for statewide traffic information and can be accessed through the UDOT Traffic website or via mobile application for iOS or Android devices. Citizens can use the site to view real-time traffic conditions, construction and emergency alerts, road weather forecasts, and current lane and ramp closures. New to the UDOT Traffic app is a map layer that displays designated bike routes across the state, and state roads with shoulders wider than four feet. The map also displays routes that are restricted to bicycles such as I-15 in the Salt Lake Valley.

UDOT continually upgrades the UDOT Traffic portal to make it even more useful for drivers and the public. This year, the Lane Closure tool will be used for all projects on interstates as well as major highways including Bangerter Highway, Legacy Parkway, S.R. 201, and U.S. 40.

Future updates will improve integration between construction projects and the Lane Closure tool, and will allow contractors and department employees to make changes to UDOT Traffic information using mobile devices.

Citizen Reporter

Screen shots of the citizen reporting app
UDOT Citizen Reporter is a mobile application that enlists volunteers to report on current weather conditions for specific roads across Utah. This app is designed to provide both TOC operators and travelers with more accurate and timely road, weather and travel impact information and forecasts.

To participate as citizen reporters, members of the public are required to take a short course (either online or in person), complete a quiz, and then submit a sign-up form. Once those steps are completed, the volunteer receives a login and password, and can then download the app and begin submitting reports.

Citizen reporters are able to confirm weather data received through other sources (Road Weather Information Systems, meteorological forecasts, etc.) and can provide data for roadways where RWIS systems or other information sources may not be available.

ROAD & SIGNAL TECHNOLOGY

Variable Speed Limit

Photo of Variable Speed Limit sign with a semi passing by on I-80 in Parley's Canyon

Variable Speed Limit sign on I-80 in Parley’s Canyon

In January 2014, 15 new variable speed limit (VSL) signs were activated along I-80 in Parleys Canyon. The new signs are controlled by the TOC to help maintain consistent traffic flows and assist drivers in adjusting speeds when necessary due to weather conditions.

The TOC monitors speed limits in the canyon. In the event of poor weather or low visibility, a traffic engineer reviews information, such as current road conditions, weather forecasts, snowfall rates, observed speeds, and reports from maintenance personnel. Based on this information, the engineer can make the decision to reduce the speed limit as needed. Speed limits typically range from 35 to 65 miles per hour depending on conditions.

The new VSL signs are the first of their kind in Utah. UDOT is also considering installing variable speed limit signs in other locations around the state, such as Provo Canyon and Sardine Canyon, based on the results of this project.

Bike Detection

Photo of open signal cabinet
Last year, Region Two and the TOC worked together to develop and install reliable bicycle detection at nine signalized intersections in Salt Lake City, along with new pavement markings to show bicyclists where to stop. Often, bicyclists stop at red lights, look to see if they feel it is safe to cross, and then proceed through the intersection without waiting for a green signal; these upgraded intersections help encourage cyclists to obey traffic signals.

Additionally, upgrading bicycle detection systems encourages cycling as a viable means of transportation. This helps improve air quality by reducing automobile emissions, and is an asset for local economic development since many companies have reported that Utah’s alternative transportation options (such as bicycling and mass transit) were a significant factor in their decision to come to the state.

Moving forward, the department is working with the bicycling community to identify additional high-priority intersections where this detection technology can be installed.

HAWK Crossings

Photo of HAWK signal with traffic flowing underneath

HAWK

HAWK (High Intensity Activated CrosswalK) crossings have been installed in a number of locations in Region Two where arterial streets intersect with minor streets. These crossings include pavement markings, signs, and red and yellow lights on an arm over the roadway.

When a pedestrian pushes the button to activate the signal, the lights over the roadway begin flashing yellow, alerting drivers to slow down. A solid red light then activates, along with a “walk” sign for the pedestrian. Once the “walk” phase is complete, the light flashes red, indicating to drivers to treat the intersection as a stop sign – they may proceed if the crosswalk is clear. When the lights are off, drivers are not required to stop at the crosswalk.

These signals are in use at several locations throughout the Region where large numbers of pedestrians cross major roadways. UDOT continues to evaluate other locations for these signals and will install them as needed.