October 26th, 2010

BLACK RIDGE PROJECT

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

UDOT Region Four’s first design-build project will improve traffic mobility and safety.

Region Four Project Manager Scott Goodwin

UDOT’ s upcoming Black Ridge to Iron County project on I-15 will build and extra northbound lane and install wildlife fencing for improved mobility and safety for road users.

The project is Region Four’s first Design-Build Project. DB offers a way to accelerate projects through design and construction, since both phases progress simultaneously. Sometimes, DB projects can be completed in half the time as a design-bid build project. Minimizing the duration of projects is one way UDOT helps reduce inconvenience to road users.

In addition to being faster, Region Four’s first DB project will also be paper-free. All documentation will be uploaded online. “There won’t be any heavy boxes to cart around,” says Project Manager Scott Goodwin.  Because Design Build overlaps design and construction phases, the process can

The  Black Ridge to Iron County Line DB project will use a stone matrix asphalt process to rehabilitate pavement, and add a truck acceleration lane, ATMS components and wild-life fencing. The new features will improve safety, extend pavement life, enhance UDOT’s ability to measure and manage traffic and improve mobility through the important travel and commerce corridor.

The project will reduce delay to trucks and cars using the route. Travel delay has a measurable economic cost to road users, and UDOT is dedicated to reducing travel delay as much as possible on this and all projects.

Looking north on I-15 in the Black Ridge to Iron County Line project area.

The project will be Region Four’s first opportunity to use cloud technology — all Black Ridge project documents will be stored in the online storage system ProjectWise. Bryan Adams, Access Utah County Director is helping set up a filing system using ProjectWise as the “backbone.”

Pioneer Crossing, one of five Access Utah County projects, also kept project document in ProjectWise. While saving paper is an advantage of the system, “the biggest savings is in time and resources to file, scan and save documents,” says Bryan. “We don’t have to do that any more.”

More DB projects will be in Region Four’s future. This first DB project will provide experience necessary to add “another tool in the box,” says Project Manager Scott Goodwin. “The lessons we learn on this project we can take with us and apply to future projects.”

Update: The project reached substantial completion at the end of September, 2011. Read about the completed project in this post which has more details about construction and project features.

Vic Saunders, Public Involvement Manager in Region One sent this great story about Leona Dalley, supervisor at the Perry Port of Entry. I want to meet this wonder woman. She works hard at her job, understands her important role and takes on challenges with enthusiasm and a smile. But, where’s her cape? You go, Leona! CH

Ports Of Entry: Keeping Watch Over State’s Highways

 

 

 

A big rig at the UDOT Port of Entry in Perry

 

Leona Dalley’s eyes brightened as she told me the nature of her job.

“Sure I’ll tell you what my responsibilities are,” she beamed.  “I protect the state’s highways.”

“I protect the state’s highways.”  That’s quite the personal manifesto, and I’ve thought about it many times since I spoke with her.  But you can tell by spending any time with Dalley that she means exactly what she says.

Leona Dalley protects state highways by making sure trucks play by the rules.

An 18 year veteran of the Utah Motor Carrier (UMC) Division of the Utah Department of Transportation, Dalley’s nomadic career path has taken her from the bottom of the state to the top, down to the middle and back to the top again.  She served at Ports of Entry in Kanab and Echo, before moving to the UMC headquarters in Salt Lake City.  Finally, she snagged her present post as Supervisor of the Perry Port of Entry, a spot she has very ably filled for the past 11 years, and you can tell by the twinkle in her eyes that it’s a job she really believes in.

“We protect the physical capabilities of our state’s highways to facilitate commerce,” she explained one afternoon this past summer, as we watched a steady parade of interstate and local commercial trucks stream across Perry’s scales.  “Transportation, these highways, is really important to the economy of this state and this country.

“And, I just don’t see that changing any time soon.”

A lot is being written these days about railroads taking back the millions of gross tons of freight lost to trucks in the 1950s with the advent of the Interstate Highway System, which continued right on into the 1960s and `70s.  The Staggers Rail Act, passed by Congress in 1980, deregulated the American railroad industry and opened the way for all that freight to begin moving back to the rails.  But, with the railroads needing major rebuilding of their infrastructure before such a shift could ever occur, trucks have continued, for the time being, as the primary hauler of America’s goods.

This makes Ports of Entry, like the one on I-15 in Perry, all the more important in making sure those trucks play by the rules as they roll down the highway.   But doesn’t the sheer crush of truck after truck seem overwhelming to Dalley and her staff?  “Oh, there are challenges, no doubt about it,” she said.

“We have budgetary challenges and the challenges of the constant change in the trucking industry.  We are challenged to maintain the manpower we need to efficiently operate this facility,” she reflected.  “I have a great crew who work very hard, and every one of them cares so much about the job they perform and the things they do each day.”

Like making thousands of snap judgments on the fly.  All day long, as the trucks roll by their glass-encased control room, the Port of Entry staffers make snap judgments again and again regarding the “look” of the loads they see.  Trained eyes notice something amiss here, a little “heavier than should be” weight there.  A push of a button and the dreaded red light flicks on the status board over the roadway, along with a message to the driver to park and come in for a chat.

Some of these trucks have been on the road a while, and drivers can

Truck drivers and UDOT staff inside Perry’s Port of Entry

get a little chapped when they’re asked to park and shut down their rig, and lose valuable time.  Emotions may run high at times like this, but Dalley says she and her staff are committed to handling each situation as honestly and straight-forwardly as they can.

“One bad experience by a trucker or shipper at this port affects driver interactions with every other port in the state,” she explained. “So, at this Port of Entry, we have made it our policy to conduct ourselves professionally, no matter what, or how something may be said to us.”

“That can be very hard to do sometimes, especially with those operators we see on a regular basis.  They don’t always understand why we won’t just ‘give ‘em a pass this time.”

As the non-stop river of trucks flowed by, I asked Dalley how the Ports of Entry can possibly keep up the pace.  She said new technologies, such as “PrePass,” certainly streamline the flow of trucks.

PrePass is an electronic system that automatically verifies safety, credentials, and weight of commercial vehicles at participating Ports of Entry, weigh stations, vehicle inspection and agricultural interdiction facilities.  Cleared vehicles are able to roll past these facilities at highway speeds without stopping.  Dalley said this means greater efficiency for shippers, improved safety for motorists, and survival for her.

“We process over 10,000 trucks per day here, and without technology like PrePass, there is just no way we could get all of the trucks on the highway through,” she explained.  “It’s really a great sorting tool, allowing qualifying carriers to proceed down the highway.  Then we can spend our time on those that need a closer look.”

When she must take a driver “out of service” for any reason, Dalley says it’s always a big decision.  “We understand the difference between being ‘carrier-friendly’ and being professional,” she noted.  “Sometimes drivers don’t like this decision and they get a little put out by it.

“My staff and I have been trained well and we know what to do,” she continued.  “We take care of each other, we back each other up. But above everything else, we stay professional about it and do our job.

“We always do our job.”

As I wrapped up the interview, I thanked her for her time and headed for the door.  But she wasn’t finished with me yet.  Leona Dalley just could not resist taking one more opportunity to remind me about the importance of her job.

“We work very hard to protect the safety, protect the infrastructure, and facilitate commerce on our state’s highways,” she said.  “We say that to ourselves everyday when we report to work, and we really believe it.”

“I go home from this job knowing that I’ve done something really good today,” she said positively.

And you know what?  I really believe her. — Vic Saunders

October 20th, 2010

A ROAD BY ANY OTHER NAME

3 Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT asks local residents to name State Route 92.

SR-92 needs a new name

SR-92 is not a completely new road but the heavily-used arterial is getting enough of a face lift that a new identity seems to be in order.

From Scott Thompson, Region Three Public Involvement Manager: Utah Department of Transportation officials are looking to find a new alternative name for state Route 92 (S.R. 92) in northern Utah County as it launches an online contest this week.

“Technically, S.R. 92 already has an alternative name: the Highland Highway,” said Bryan Adams, director for UDOT’s Access Utah County program.  “But that designation has never really been embraced by the road’s users.  I’ve heard it called everything from ‘the Alpine Highway’ to simply ‘the road to American Fork Canyon.’”

With the road currently under reconstruction between I-15 and S.R. 74, Adams said it seemed like a good time to give S.R. 92 a new and lasting alternative name.

“With the new commuter lanes we are building along with the road-widening we are doing, S.R. 92 is going to be a new and exciting roadway, and we thought it should have a new and exciting name,” Adams said.  “We’ll have the opportunity to put this new name on the road signs we are building as part of the project, and to brand it in all of our press releases and construction updates during the last year of construction.”

UDOT is asking the public to help them come up with the new name for S.R. 92.  Now through Friday, November 19, name submission forms will be available on the S.R. 92 construction website.  Rules and guidelines for the contest can be found on the website as well.

“This is a chance for people to leave a lasting mark on their community,” Adams said.  “We’re excited to give people this unique opportunity.”

The S.R. 92 reconstruction project is being built through a joint venture of the Flatiron and Harper construction companies.  It is scheduled for completion by the fall of 2011. For more information about S.R. 92 please visit the project website or call the project information hotline at 1-877-222-3757.

October 13th, 2010

CO-OPT OUR CAMERAS

2 Comments, Optimize Mobility, by Catherine Higgins.

Utah’s traffic authority is lending you their cameras.

I-80 in Parley's Canyon

The interactive map on the UDOT Traffic website is a great tool for travelers who want to choose the most delay-free route.  Site users can click on a map icon and see a camera view, like the one at the right, that shows real-time traffic conditions.

Now, the new Traffic Dashboard allows free use of those cameras on other websites.

Setting up the dashboard only takes a few minutes.

Accessing the dashboard tools starts with a simple online registration process. The dashboard can be customized with colors, logos and quick-links, and allows users to choose sight-specific camera views. Users also get a button that can be used as link to the dashboard from another web page.

Dashboards will be put to good use at UDOT; all project websites will have dashboards with cameras soon. Businesses and entertainment venues can use dashboards to help customers avoid delay when traveling to their site.

Here’s a demo and some examples of dashboards in use:

Dashboard Demo

Access Utah County

October 7th, 2010

UDOT RECLAIMS 7800 SOUTH

3 Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A process that recycles old asphalt into new road base was recently used on 7800 South in West Jordan.

A tanker followed by a reclaimer adds emulsion to crushed asphalt. Road Science is the sub-contractor working with Condie Construction on this project.

Full Depth Reclamation has been used by UDOT for about five years. The process uses a large piece of equipment called a reclaimer to grind up and re-use the old road instead of removing old road material and hauling it off.

Here’s a simple step by step:

First, a few inches of asphalt is milled off the old road. The area is pulverized and water is added, if needed. The reclaimer passes over the road and grinds up the pulverized portion, then passes again and adds an emulsion.

After a few roller passes, the area is tested for correct compaction.

At this point, the material is slightly oily and looks like Oreo cookie crumbs. A sheep’s foot roller and a grader are used to compact and grade the soon-to-be road base.

The new base material is then rolled to the correct compaction. With evaporation, the compacted area gets harder and becomes suitable as new road base. On 7800 South asphalt pavement tops off the process.

Lonnie Marchant, Materials Engineer at UDOT Region Two is a champion of FDR because the process:

Makes good economic sense. It’s a good use of increasingly scarce resources to recycle road material if possible.

Produces a good base. Structural numbers for FDR are almost as good as new asphalt.

Reduces wear on surrounding haul routes. UDOT has observed wear and tear on roads near other projects sites after heavy trucks haul away materials.

Reduces impact to road users and property owners along the construction corridor. FDR is great for an urban setting because the process is fast and requires fewer large trucks that slow traffic. Vehicles can drive over the crushed material right away, so driveways are only blocked while the equipment passes.

FDR has been used on three Region Two projects with very good results. UDOT will continue to use FDR and other processes that save money and make good use of used road products.

October 5th, 2010

TEAM ENERGY

1 Comment, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A new blog will give information about saving energy.

The Employee Efficiency Partnership is a cooperative effort involving the Governor’s Office, the National Energy Foundation and Utah State Employees.

Deb Henry, a rotational engineer at UDOT, is making it easier for others to find ways to save energy.  As part of her role on the UDOT Energy Team, she’s writing a blog that will will be an ongoing source of energy saving ideas, tips and facts.

Who knew that most bottle caps are typically hard to recycle and that taking caps off bottles before recycling saves time and energy? Deb explains it all in detail on her blog and includes links to more information like The Story of Bottled Water.

UDOT’s energy team is part of the State of Utah’s “Think! Energy Utah” Employee Energy Efficiency Partnership  started by the Herbert administration in 2009. The National Energy Partnership is a supporting organization.

“I would like UDOT employees to focus on how using energy efficiently means our tax dollars go further,” says Deb.  If you would like to be part of UDOT’s Energy Team, contact Deb at dhenry@utah.gov.

October 4th, 2010

GIVING TODAY

No Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

The annual effort to let state employees know about donating to charitable organizations begins on Monday, October 4.

Giving through the Utah State Employees’ Charitable Fund makes supporting a good cause easy — with online enrollment and a one time donation option, it’s a cinch to participate. Choosing from among more than 500 charitable agencies is the tough part.

Are you interested in helping children, supporting the arts or improving the environment? What ever cause you want to help, there are probably many organizations that address your concerns.

Some of those organizations gathered at the State Library recently to meet representatives of state agencies and answer questions. Here are three out of hundreds of non-profits that participate in the state fund:

Christmas Box International

Caleb Loveless is serious about child welfare

“We’re all about child welfare,” says Caleb Loveless. Christmas Box International helps children in foster and shelter care by providing clothing and activities that support the needs of kids who have been abused or neglected.

Caleb likes participating in the Charitable Fund promotion to bring attention to child welfare issues. “We need to spread the word about what we do.”

Adopt a Native Elder

Mary Phillips peeks over a display of photos, yarn and textiles.

Mary Phillips represented Adopt a Native Elder, a program that helps Navajo weavers sustain themselves and their families through their craft. Many of the elders helped live in a traditional way by residing in Hogans or raising sheep or cattle. The program also provides other types of support like food assistance and homebound care.

Fort Douglas Military Museum

The mission of the Fort Douglas Military Museum is to “to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of Fort Douglas and its impact on the history of Utah and the adjacent Western states,” according to the website. Donations to the Fort Douglas Military Museum help preserve an important part of the history of Utah and surrounding states. Director Robert Voyles says the museum includes exhibits about the Utah War and includes the history of Camp Floyd.

Museum Director Robert Voyles

The museum is raising funds for a new Main Gallery.  This year is the first time the museum has participated in the campaign.

The theme for this year: Giving Today Makes a Better Tomorrow!

For more information about other organizations or to donate, visit the  Utah State Employees Charitable Fund website.




September 30th, 2010

WRIGHT INTERVIEWS NJORD

No Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

UDOT Executive Director John Njord addressed several issues, including I-15 CORE selection, the settlement and inappropriate employee conduct during in-depth KSL Radio interview on today’s Doug Wright Show.

To hear the interview, follow the link below, then scroll down and click The Doug Wright Show (second hour) for Thursday, Sept. 30.

http://pandora.bonnint.net/audio/doug.rss

September 30th, 2010

MONUMENTAL AWARD

4 Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A history buff who worked with UDOT and others to build a monument to the Lincoln Highway was recently recognized for his efforts.

A Ford Model A is parked near the monument at the dedication event. A car like the one above traveled the Lincoln Highway in 1924 commemorating the 10-millionth Ford to roll off the assembly line.

Retired shop teacher Rollin Southwell says he “should have been a historian” because of his interest in the old Lincoln Highway and his admiration for its “flamboyant promoter” Carl Fisher. Rollin was recently presented with an Outstanding Achievement Award by Utah State History for 10 years of work to plan, build and place a monument to Fisher and the Lincoln Highway.

The monument, on Utah State Route 199 at milepost 12, marks what is now known as Fisher Pass and is part of Utah’s portion of the Lincoln Highway. Carl Fisher funded this part of the Lincoln Highway a century ago during a time when most roads were not suitable for the newly invented automobiles.

Jack Mason stands in front of a rock that was moved and placed near the monument.

Rollin worked closely with UDOT Region 2 Area Supervisor Jack Mason.  ”Jack is an excellent supervisor of his people,” says Rollin. UDOT employees assisted in the effort by moving a large rock and paving near the monument. Jerry Timmins, also of Region two helped resolve a right-of-way issue. Most of the effort was paid for with private funds.

The monument plaque has a picture of a lighthouse — a strange image in landlocked Utah.  A lighthouse lit by Prest-O-lite gas, a product championed by Carl Fisher, was once proposed  as a way to provide light for Lincoln Highway travelers driving between Wendover and Tooele.  Plans for the lighthouse were found, but the structure was never built.

A solar-powered beacon turns on automatically after dark.  A Lincoln Highway Marker is placed next to the monument.

The Lincoln Highway, Carl Fishers brain child, was the nation’s first transcontinental road built exclusively for automobiles, and was planned to extend from San Francisco to New York City. Many routes for the Utah’s section of the Lincoln Highway were proposed. The final route crossed northern Utah from Wendover, Nevada, through Salt Lake and on to Evanston, Wyoming.

Utah State History Division Director Phil Notarianni, left, and Rollin Southwell at the award ceremony

September 27th, 2010

TWO SECONDS TO TURN-OFF

No Comments, Uncategorized, by Catherine Higgins.

A national magazine for teen girls is helping spread the word about the danger of distracted driving.

According to Seventeen Magazine, “taking your eyes of the road for two seconds doubles your chance of getting in a crash.”  Taking two seconds to turn off a phone before driving can cut down on distraction and serve as an important safety measure.

Seventeen Magazine recently held “Two Second Turn-off Day” on September 17 along with a video contest.   The winning video delivers this important turn-off message with a rap:

The contest was also sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Discover and AAA.