ROAD RESPECT

Safety depends on mutual respect between motorists and cyclists.

UDOT Deputy Director addresses cyclists and audience member at Sugar House Park.

In an average year in Utah, six bicyclists are killed and nearly 850 are involved in crashes with motor vehicles, according to the Utah Department of Public Safety’s 2009 Utah Crash Summary. As cycling becomes more popular, UDOT, the Utah Department of Public Safety and elected officials across Utah consider safety to be job one.Today, 25 elite cyclists rode from Logan to Salt Lake City as safety ambassadors as part of the Road Respect Tour. Here are a few highlights:

The Road Respect Tour got underway on Monday June 13 and at each stop, met with leaders who expressed support for the tour goals – to keep cyclists and motorists safe on Utah’s streets.

Road Respect Tour Participants

Keri Gibson with DPS Highway Safety Office and Jeff Erdman with UDOT Region 1

Mayor Godfrey of Ogden touted the “miles and miles of bike lanes” that have been established under his administration. Godfrey says that a redesign of downtown Ogden made it possible for safe bicycle lanes to be installed, making a safe space for cyclists who want to commute. Fresh-Air Fridays and bike racks all over town offer a welcoming atmosphere in Ogden. Godfrey will continue to work with UDOT to make more improvements.

Infrastructure is not the only approach to improving safety – good safety practices on the part of motorists and cyclists are imperative. A recent tragic death of a cyclist in Salt Lake City “is a sad reminder to all of us that we all need to be responsible for safety,” said UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras at Sugar House Park Monday afternoon. Both motorists and cyclists share responsibility.

ROAD RESPECT TOUR

More Utahns are choosing cycling to commute, get in shape or enjoy plentiful recreation opportunities.  As more cyclists take to the road, it’s more pressing that motorists and cyclists to know and comply with the rules of the road.

 

Show some respect by learning the rules of the road.

A recent survey shows that over half of respondents unaware of Utah’s laws regarding motorist and cyclist safety. UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety are partnering to promote knowledge of the rules. A new public education program, “Road Respect,” is designed to promote public knowledge of Utah law for motorists and cyclists. The campaign features billboards, radio ads and an information-rich website. To kick off the Road Respect campaign, Utah cyclists will participate in rides and events throughout the state starting Monday, June 13.

Do you know the rules? Whether you cycle, drive or do some of both, check out the Road Respect website to learn more about how you can share the road.

CONCRETE SHOWCASE

A recent UDOT showcase demonstrated a quick and effective way to repair concrete pavement using precast panels.

Precast Concrete Panel Systems offer a fast and durable solution to replacing damaged pavement.

Precast concrete elements are commonly used for bridge girders, decks or associated structures like MSE walls. Use of Precast Concrete Panel Systems to repair or build pavement is gaining popularity across the country but is not yet widely used. The construction process for repairing pavement involves removing the damaged concrete, preparing the road base then placing, leveling and grouting concrete panels into place.

UDOT has been using two PCPS to replace damaged pavement – a proprietary system available locally from one contractor and a non proprietary system detailed in UDOT’s Standard Specifications. With the support from FHWA Highways for Life, UDOT held a workshop and on-site demonstration to showcase a newly designed non-proprietary panel. Over two hundred attendees from across the United States took advantage of the opportunity to learn about design, construction and installation of the new panels.

At the workshop, designer Dave Eixenberger with T.Y. Lin International gave a lot of credit to Dave Gilley with Harper Pre-cast “who was a big, big help.” Eixenberger started the design process by looking at other PCPS projects and assessing lessons learned. His objective was to develop another tool to “provide a cost-effective and durable pavement product.” Working with Gilley, Eixenberger eventually designed a standardized panel intended to minimize construction costs and simplify installation.

Dave Eixenberger

The new panel is 12 by 12 feet square and 9 inches thick. Uncoated black steel rebar provides reinforcement to support lifting the 17,000 pound panel. The unique aspect of the design is the inclusion of leveling bolts that are commonly used in bridge deck construction. After placement, the bolts are turned against steel panels on the sub-base to achieve correct elevation. Four bolts are placed in each panel during the casting process. Six grout ports are also included in each panel.

Gilley experimented with different methods of preparing the sub-base and two grout options by setting up mock roadway trials at the pre-cast yard. Gilley and his crew arrived at some important lessons learned: A thin, firm sub-base is needed to prevent grout displacement and an adequately wide leveling bolt panel is crucial. As for grout options, concrete urethane type grouts were tried and found to flow and fill equally well. The final decision was to select urethane grout for the demonstration project. With a cure time of 20 minutes, urethane is much quicker than concrete grout which means travel lanes can be opened sooner.

The on-site portion of the showcase took place on the south-bound on-ramp to I-215 at 3900 South.  Because UDOT requires work to be done with as little disruption to traffic as possible, “This process is schedule critical,” explains Gilley. “You need to get all of your ducks in a row.” Kilgore Construction crews had been placing panels during three previous nights so the process was executed with precision.

Director of UDOT Reserch Cameron Kergaye, left, with Daniel Hsiao, Research Project Manager

Daniel Hsiao, UDOT Research Division Project Manager who oversaw panel testing, design and the showcase event compares the new system to UDOT’s use of ABC construction methods. “We took bridges off the critical path — now we have to speed up the pavement,” says Hsiao.

As with bridges, using PCPS offers the advantage of a speedy repair which is great for road users. Using a cast-in-place method involves closing lanes and waiting for concrete to cure before traffic can resume. With PCPS, the cure time takes place is off site, so traffic lanes can be reopened soon after installation. And, another panel option in Utah will help support a competitive bidding environment, which conserves limited funding.

Other project personnel:

UDOT Project Manager: Matt Zundel, Region Two

Resident Engineer, John Montoya, Region Two

Information about the showcase will be posted on the UDOT website. Check the UDOT Blog for and update about project information documents.

WMA JUNGLE

This post is fourth in a series about the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts Innovation Initiative.

FHWA’s Every Day Counts Innovation Initiative encourages the use of  Warm Mix Asphalt.

Granite Construction Company's Cottonwood Plant has been named to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Clean Utah Program.

Using WMA can be a cost and energy saving approach with high quality results. UDOT allows the use of WMA as long as contractors provide a final product that meets the standards specified by UDOT engineers.

Hot Mix Asphalt and Warm Mix Asphalt have essentially the same basic components – asphalt binder and aggregate. Hot or cold, asphalt pavement comes in a variety of mix designs that vary the type, size and amount of asphalt binder and aggregate to determine the strength, thickness and durability depending on many variables, including underlying soil type, expected pavement life, climate and the traffic load carried by the road.

HMA uses heat to decrease the viscosity of the asphalt in order to be able to place and roll the pavement to the correct compaction. Adding Zeolite, surfactants or wax increases the ability of the asphalt to absorb water or makes the mix more workable so correct compaction can be achieved.

  • Adding water to hot asphalt during the mixing process causes mix to foam and achieve the viscosity that’s needed at lower temperatures to compact the product after installation. Granite construction has used WMA successfully in Utah for several years by using the water injection method to produce WMA.
  • “Zeolite is a mineral sponge used to transport water into the asphalt binder,” says Kevin VanFrank, UDOT’s Engineer for Asphalt Materials. “The foaming is more persistent and therefore the reduced viscosity lasts longer than simply adding water,” and lower compaction temperatures can be maintained for greater periods.
  • Waxes are thermosets “that lubricate and decrease viscosity of the mix at temperatures above their liquid phase transition but increase viscosity above the liquid phase transition,” explains VanFrank.
  • Surfactants (soap) are added to coat the aggregates to make the binder workable at lower temperatures without changing viscosity

WMA has several advantages. Less energy is expended to heat WMA; HMA is heated to 310 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while the temperature range for WMA is as much as sixty degrees lower.

The compaction zone, or the temperature range at which asphalt can be successfully compacted, is wider than for HMA, giving workers more time to compact the asphalt once it’s placed.

WMA can be placed in the cooler months of spring or fall, which potentially lengthens the construction season. And, cooler asphalt has a milder odor, which can be good for road users and especially for workers.

WMA was successfully used on Wall Avenue in Ogden. During the project, WMA was placed side by side with HMA. “We couldn’t see any difference,” says Kevin VanFrank, UDOT’s Engineer for Asphalt Materials. The two asphalt mixes were tested extensively. “It all looks the same today,” says VanFrank.

 

Placing WMA on Wall Avenue in Ogden, Utah

See Granite’s Clean Utah Letter

INNOVATIVE CONTRACTING

This post is third in a series about the Federal Highway Administration’s Every Day Counts Innovation Initiative.

Girder placement on the Design-Build EXPRESSLink Project

UDOT’s contracting methods factor in user costs, encourage innovation and speed, and seek a balance point for everyone, including the contractor and the general public.

A component of the Every Day Counts Innovation Initiative includes shortening project delivery by using efficient contracting methods. UDOT uses a broad range of contracting options that have been made available by the Utah Legislature:

Design-Bid-Build is a traditional approach that seeks separate contracts for design and construction of a project. DBB contracts are usually reserved for smaller projects priced at $40 million or under. DBB is most effectively used when seeking a cost-sensitive project.

Design-Build is a method where the construction contractor and the designer partner and bid to design and construct a project with both processes taking place simultaneously.  The advantages of this method are speed of completion and low cost.  Finding the balance point with Design Build requires an open relationship with the contractor to achieve a “best value” project.

The Construction Manager General Contractor contracting method is a value-based approach that factors in price, risk elements that are clearly defined and enumerated and key personnel.  In a report about collaboration, Larry Reash of Horrocks Engineers explains that the intent of CMGC is to “form a partnership with UDOT, the owner, the designer working for UDOT, and the contractor. This partnership is developed during the design phase to minimize risk, develop a project schedule, identify potential innovations, and develop a project cost model.”  (Collaboration using the CM/GC Process to Find Solutions for Accelerated Bridge Construction, Horrocks Construction, www.udot.utah.gov )

After design, UDOT seeks to execute a sole-source contracting approach to build the project. An independent cost estimator analyses the proposal to ensure the price is fair. The CMGC method is widely used in Utah but sees limited use in other states.

Low-bid Design-Build is used with smaller projects that have a very clear scope. Under this method, the lowest priced proposal is awarded the contract. DB allows contractors to bring their innovations to the table. A low-cost contract serves UDOT financially and benefits the road user through reduced project duration.

A list of clearly identified risks is also a component of each request for proposal, no matter the contract type. When risks are clearly identified, contractors can focus effort on mitigating risk. Many risk identifying approaches are written into UDOT’s standard specifications.

By controlling the type of contract and clearly identifying risk, UDOT can manage the bid prices received.  For example, a recent project near St. George, Utah showed potential for problem areas in soil conditions. The bidding process clearly identified the possible risk that supplementary investigation might be needed. Bidding contractors weighed options for further investigation to determine suitability and stability of the soil and priced bids accordingly.

Having a broad range of tools in the contracting tool box means that UDOT can choose the best method to reduce time and cost to find the balance point or best value solution for UDOT and road users.  UDOT also uses strategies in the form of to bidding time savings along with each contracting method.  All contracts include limits for lane use and restrictions on construction operations. Large, high cost projects with high public impact are the best candidates for finding solutions that meet UDOT’s stringent limitations focused on reducing traffic delay.

TERI NEWELL

Teri Newell at the Mountain View Corridor Construction Office

A UDOT leader is one of 30 “innovative, confident and savvy” Women to Watch according to Utah Business Magazine.

UDOT’s Teri Newell, Manager of the Mountain View Corridor project  “is one of those leaders that both deserves and demands your attention,” says Jason Davis, Director of Region Two. “Teri never shies away from a difficult situation but instead tackles it with the ferociousness of a NFL linebacker.”

Teri has been managing the Mountain View Corridor project for more than 8 years. During the early years the work consisted of planning and public involvement. Today, the $330 Million highway and transit corridor involves much more. “We’re dealing with planning and construction all together,” says Newell.

The exciting part now is seeing the roadway features and structures progress during construction. A 16-mile segment between  Redwood Road at 16000 South and 5400 South will be completed by fall 2012.

Center pier of the Juniper Canyon Bridge

The project has also grown from a small staff to a staff of hundreds of workers. Newell’s management style is to “surround herself with a highly skilled team and then support and lead them,” says Davis. “This is a trait of a great leader.”

While most of UDOT’s work consists of maintaining or rebuilding roads, Mountain View Corridor is being built from the ground up. “I feel really lucky to be a part of this project,” says Newell.

BUCKLE-UP

More than 100 law enforcement agencies across the state are joining forces to remind drivers to wear seat belts.

Wearing car seat belts correctly is the most important thing drivers and passengers can do to avoid serious injury or death in the event of a crash. Eighty nine percent of drivers buckle-up – the 11 percent who don’t are the focus of this year’s “Click It or Ticket” enforcement effort. State Troopers and local law enforcement hope those drivers will re-think going belt-free.

David Bartholomew, Memorial Cemetaries and Mortuaries, explains how difficult the loss of a loved one is on family members.

For drivers who don’t wear seat belts, a ticket should be the least of their worries. The un-belted account for 50 percent of fatalities “which is incredible,” says Colonel Daniel Fuhr of the Utah Highway Patrol. Crashes are the leading cause of death for people age 2 through 34 nationwide. Research shows that many are risk takers, young men, nighttime motorists, or child passengers driven by unsecured drivers.

Troopers often get the sad task of delivering death notifications to families who loose loved ones in a crash. “Let me set the stage for you,” says Fuhr, who solemnly tells how families are “absolutely devastated” by the sad news. When mothers, fathers and siblings see State Troopers accompanied by local law enforcement standing at their door, “they know the news is not good.”

Realizing that a family member will not be coming home is the first emotional blow; the pain of that loss lasts a lifetime. If drivers don’t want to wear seat belts to protect themselves, “think about it for their families,” says Fuhr.

Utah’s law enforcement community will be working extra seat-belt patrols May 23 through June 5, and while troopers will be issuing citations, the real objective of the Click It or Ticket effort is to save lives.

For more information, see the links below:

UDOT partners with law enforcement and other state agencies on the Click it or Ticket campaign, part of the Zero Fatalities umbrella effort to remind drivers to stay safe on the road.

Crash Facts from the Utah Department of Public Safety

Utah Department Public Safety, Highway Safety Blog

Safety experts have know for a long time that seat belts save lives every day! The belts have changed but the message has stayed the same:

RODRIGUEZ ROCKS

UDOT’s Risk Manager Tim Rodriguez is the Insurance Professional of the Year, according to the Insurance Professionals of Salt Lake City, the local branch of the National Association of Insurance Women.

Tim Rodriguez

Timothy M. Rodriguez, CPCU, ARM-P, CRIS, AIS, has been the Risk Manager for the Utah Department of Transportation since February 2010. He came to UDOT from Salt Lake City where he was the Risk Manager for the previous 5 years.  He started out in Risk Management in 1998 as the subrogation specialist for the Utah Transit Authority.  He moved up the Loss Control Specialist in 2001 and was involved in the safety, security and emergency management for the Transit Authority during the Olympics in 2002.

Tim is a past President for the Utah Chapter of Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters (CPCU) and current Past President of the Utah Risk Management Society (RIMS) Chapter. He has also taught insurance classes for the local CPCU Chapter.

As the UDOT Risk Manager, Rodriguez is tasked with identifying and minimizing risk on the project level. Each Project Manager at UDOT is charged with completing a safety checklist during the pre-construction phase. Rodriguez reviews each item on the list to make sure projects are compliant. (See a link to the list below)

Rodriguez manages the Owner Controlled Insurance Program for projects that have a budget of $20 Million or more. UDOT procures the insurance policy through the OCIP rotating fund and “we don’t rely on the insurance of the contractors or the subs” for these big projects, some of which include Mountain View Corridor, I-15 CORE and the Black Ridge project on I-15 in Region Four.

In order to manage all his duties effectively, Rodriguez puts in some serious steel-toe-boot-time at project sites. “That’s always been a priority of mine – to get out in the field.” In addition to site visits, he meets with region safety managers quarterly. He appreciates region safety managers who do a great job and has learned a lot from them.

To UDOT workers and private sector partners who build and maintain UDOT roads, Rodriguez has a message: “Take your safety roll seriously.” Minimizing risk is about making work life safer for everyone on the job. “It’s like the Workers Compensation Fund saying…we want you to go home at night.”

For more:

Tim Rodriguea has a long history of involvement in the insurance industry. Here’s a partial list of  Tim’s accomplishments.

The  UDOT Project Risk Assessment Checklist is filled out by UDOT Project Manager — before using this list, check to make sure this is the most recent version.

This PD Connect Webinar has a presentation by Rodriguez — fast forward to his portion about 21 minutes into the recording.

 

 

 

DIG IT

UDOT recently offered guided tours of archaeological sites near a southern Utah transportation project.

Archaeologists are working to preserve artifacts from the Ancestral Puebloan people.

An Archaeology team working with UDOT is investigating part of a future construction corridor in order to preserve artifacts from Ancestral Puebloan People, prehistoric agriculturalists who lived along the Virgin River over 1000 years ago. The public saw a close up of the investigation at one of many sites as part of Utah Archaeology Week.

Archaeology team members use brushes to uncover artifacts.

Archaeology team members use brushes to uncover artifacts.

Aubry Bennion, who coordinated the tours for UDOT, said that over 100 visitors “walked away with a better appreciation for the process and consideration the state puts into building a road.  Even afterward, we received numerous thank you letters from folks who expressed gratitude for the invitation to be a part of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

Plans to let the public see archeology in action started months ago. During team meetings, Bennion participated in discussions about the data recovery process as part of an effort to preserve cultural resources. But once on-site, the process really came alive for her.

Throughout the day, the archaeology team made slow and steady progress.  “The crews chiseled away, beginning with trenching with a back-hoe, then shovels transitioned to hand trowels, and eventually brushes were used to uncover their finds.  They collected the unearthed dirt into buckets, which were then shuffled through a screen – even the smallest shards of pottery or miscellaneous artifacts were recovered through the archaeologists’ process.”

from William Self, Inc. explains the methods Archaeologists are using to investigate the site.

Bennion was most impressed with the systematic way the team carried out the work. “Their precision was the most incredible thing. the number of staff, the steps of the process, the horizontal and vertical measurements they took of each piece they uncovered to document their exact locations…all of it demonstrated a level of respect for the history of the land and that all possible mitigation measures are taken by the state to preserve what they can.”

Seventeen archaeological sites are near the future construction zone of the Southern Parkway, but only portions of the sites have the potential to be impacted by road construction. Archaeologists are investigating to “determine the extent of site boundaries and the types of structures and features that lie below the ground surface,” according to John Ravesloot, an Archaeologist with William Self Associates, Inc.  The investigations being conducted currently will contribute to the body of knowledge about former residents of the region “and the ways in which they adapted to this rugged and beautiful basin.”

To learn more, read this:  Utah archaeology week handout May 10.

 

HEBER CITY TO LITE-UP

This post is second in a series about UDOT and FHWA’s Every Day Counts Innovation Initiative.

A “lite” way to operate signals offers many advantages of a full-blown adaptive system without the high cost.

Heber City signals will get an update this summer

Adaptive traffic signals will be installed in Heber City, Utah this summer. The new computerized signals will adjust automatically to real-time traffic demand. To understand adaptive signals, it’s helpful to first understand the current signal control system, says Mark Taylor, Signal Systems Engineer for UDOT.

The current state wide traffic management system is operated through a centralized Traffic Operations Center. The signals, usually within one-half mile of each other, are synchronized by time of day with an internal clock, explains Taylor.

Each signal can operate using multiple signal coordination plans that correspond to traffic needs – for example, signals can be programmed to allow more green light time in the peak traffic-direction during morning or afternoon commutes. Signal operators can program several coordination plans per signal that switch from one plan to another automatically throughout the day.

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.

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 about traffic flow. From the data and conclusions come basis for each coordination plan.

While the current plan works well, there are some inherent disadvantages:

  • Every three to five years, traffic engineers need to review or redo coordination plans. “Time plans can get stale when a new development is built,” says Taylor. When plans go stale, engineers need to manually alter the plans or get new traffic counts, “and that’s a time intensive process.”
  • Special events throw another complication into the traffic plan mix. “The current system does not deal with atypical events” like holiday shopping, sports events or an incident like a crash that blocks travel lanes.
  • As plans switch from one coordination plan to another, that change is abrupt while actual traffic changes are gradual. “The current system gets the heart of the peak well but not the sides well.”

Adaptive Traffic Control Systems respond to traffic in real-time.

“There’s no library of plans to pick from,” says Taylor. “Actual time plans don’t get stale; they stay current and are optimized on a real time basis.” Changes are made gradually as signals at intersections communicate with each other electronically to provide more green light time or other adjustments as needed.

Adaptive signals have been operating in Summit County for five years.

An ATCS has been operating effectively in Park City for five years. The system works well in the resort town because traffic is seasonal and weather sensitive, so coming up with defined traffic coordination plans is difficult.

As with the current system, ATCSs also have inherent disadvantages. The systems are signal detector heavy, and those detectors need to be working correctly for the system to work. “Some systems are smart enough to ignore some bad data,” but when too many detectors fail, “it sends the system bogus data,” says Taylor. ATCSs are also expensive and sophisticated and require initial calibration, fine tuning and active maintenance. Plus, ATCSs do not link up well with the current system.

Adaptive Control Software Lite

The system being installed in Heber this fall is less complicated than regular ATCSs. Taylor says the algorithms are simpler and the system is less expensive. “Full blown systems are $25 to $30 thousand per intersection.” While ACS Lite doesn’t do as much as its high-end relative, “it should do well to accommodate the needs of Heber City” at half the cost. Plus, the Heber system allows integration with a central management system.

Like Park City, Heber City has “seasonal variations to traffic demand.” With events like Swiss Days and the Cowboy poetry festival, and the draw of Strawberry Reservoir as a popular recreation site, “during the summer, traffic gets busy in Heber.”

Taylor is on an EDC technical advisory committee working to define specifications for ACS Lite. The EDC backed effort aims to “help to create a system that is simpler to use and operate and integrate effectively with the systems currently in place.”  Through the EDC initiative, FHWA is sponsoring and funding part of an effort to help the nation’s departments of transportation, cities and towns procure systems that will effectively reduce delay.

Should ACS Lite signals be installed in every intersection? “It’s not a magic bullet,” says Taylor. “Funding and capacity issues can’t be solved easily.” UDOT will evaluate ACS Lite in Heber and look at other appropriate sites for ACS Lite or similar systems in the future as funding allows.

Read more about adaptive signals as part of the EDC Innovation Initiative.