Photo of all of the IMT trucks lined upUDOT’s Incident Management Team (IMT) vehicles exist to help motorists when they have car trouble and to support the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) during any roadway incident. UDOT is focused on quick clearance of traffic incidents to minimize the risk to the first responders and to have travel lanes reopened as soon as possible.

UDOT’s IMT program has 14 trucks operating in all four of UDOT’s regions. The trucks carry a variety of equipment, including jacks, gasoline, air compressors, battery packs, oil dry, first aid kits and various tools for minor roadside repairs. UDOT chose to operate larger vehicles than some other states for the IMT program. The benefits are better visibility to passing motorists and the ability to carry more equipment.

Image of Twitter comment thanking an IMT driver for help chaning a tire.

A thank you received by UDOT Traffic on Twitter

IMT drivers are required to attend several trainings per year including training on hazardous material spills, emergency traffic control, medical and FEMA classes. Recently, the IMT drivers completed their certifications in emergency vehicle operations at the UHP training track near Camp Williams. The drivers learned about proper backing techniques, defensive driving, their vehicle dynamics and proper emergency traffic scene safety.

Image of a tweet sent thanking IMT for they help while stranded on I-80 near the airport.

Thank you recived by UDOT Traffic on Twitter.

The IMT program has helped hundreds of motorists over the last several years. Some people refer to the IMT drivers as “professional good samaritans.” Disabled vehicles on a freeway create a safety hazard, especially when the disabled vehicle is blocking a travel lane. The likelihood of a secondary crash resulting from congestion increases by almost 3% for every minute that the lane is blocked. Approximately 20% of all crashes are called secondary crashes, or a crash that can be traced to an original incident.

This guest post was written by Jeff Reynolds, Roadway Safety Manager.

Efficiencies within UDOT often generate cost savings for the public and the Department through better utilization of resources and innovative technologies. At the end of each year, UDOT prepares an efficiencies report which summarizes key efficiency initiatives from the year. The annual report fulfills a requirement for UDOT to describe the efficiencies and significant accomplishments achieved during the past year to the State Legislature. UDOT Senior Leaders use the report in presentations during legislative committee meetings.

Following are the key efficiency initiatives summarized in the FY 2013 report:

  • Bicycle Detection and Pavement Markings
  • Flashing Yellow Arrow for Left Turns
  • Reflectorized Yellow Tape on Signal-Head Back Plates
  • Portable Weather Station for Advance Warning of Debris Flows
  • Audio Over IP Highway Advisory Radio in Utah County
  • Commercial Vehicle Bypass (PrePass)
  • Partnered Fiber-Optic Cable Installations
  • Resolving Utility Conflicts through a Preserve and Protect Approach
  • Utah Prairie Dog Programmatic Agreement
  • Performance-Driven Programming
  • Energy-Efficient LED Lighting Upgrades in Department Facilities
  • iMAP GIS Tool
  • Improved Decision Making Using Mobile Data Collection
  • MMQA Data Collection Teams
Photo of a flashing yellow signal

Flashing Yellow Arrow left-turn phasing

One example from the 2013 report is the improved safety at intersections that are changed from Protected/Permissive to Flashing Yellow Arrow left-turn phasing. UDOT and other jurisdictions throughout Utah are among the first in the nation to implement flashing left-turn arrows. Potential annual public cost savings per installation ranges from $17,745 to $2,769,000 from reduced crashes.

Photo of rock and mud covering the highway

Debris flow across S.R. 31 in Huntington Canyon

Another example from 2013 is the use of a portable weather station to provide advance warning of debris flows and flooding at the Seeley burn scar near S.R. 31 in Huntington Canyon. Using the station contributed to over-all safety, minimized equipment losses, reduced response time, and minimized impact to commerce. An estimated $50,000 was saved through reduced risk to field crews, motorists, and equipment.

UDOT Research Division staff coordinate each year with UDOT Senior Leaders and the Communications Office to collect and compile write-ups on the past year’s key efficiency initiatives. This process will start again in August for FY 2014. We look forward to receiving “game changing” efficiency topics from all Regions and Groups that will potentially be included in the annual report.

The 2013 and earlier annual reports are available online at www.udot.utah.gov/go/efficiencies.

This guest post was written by David Stevens, P.E., Research Project Manager, and was originally published in the Research Newsletter.

Photo of the State Street and 1320 South intersection in Provo

New signals at Provo State Street and 1320 South.

Existing traffic signals have been updated to newer equipment that includes controllers that send real-time data about the signal operations to the Traffic Operations Center.

With the upgraded controllers, UDOT can troubleshoot issues remotely such as noticing a stuck pedestrian button or verifying signal timing.

Traffic engineers can track data that used to require manual labor such as traffic speeds, traffic volumes and percent arrival on green.

Photo of the inside of a signal cabinet

A signal cabinet at State Street and 1320 South. The cabinet contains a controller that gathers and transmits real-time traffic data for remote analysis and optimization of the system.

Out of 249 signals operated by UDOT in Region Three, 211 have been upgraded to gather this real-time traffic data for analysis and optimization of the system. “Small adjustments can sometimes make a big difference for our traffic operations,” said
Adam Lough, Region Three Engineering Manager.

“The upgraded signal controllers allow us to make these adjustments and monitor how the intersection is operating without being on-site.”

The opportunity to recognize excellent, dedicated and forward-thinking UDOT employees officially comes once a year, and the UDOT Traffic Management Division (TMD) was happy to identify several deserving staff through this process. It is important to pause and recognize outstanding employee achievement and celebrate the employees who continually go above and beyond to ensure great customer service to the public.

Headshot of Kelly Burns

Kelly Burns

This year, Kelly Burns was selected as the TMD Employee of the Year. Kelly is currently managing a project to develop freeway performance measures for congestion monitoring. She also supports UDOT’s four Regions for traffic modeling. Because of Kelly’s hard work and dedication, the new Speed Profile report for I-15, which identifies bottlenecks, was completed. The Speed Profile report will also be an excellent resource for effective future planning efforts. Kelly demonstrates a commitment to her job, co-workers and the traveling public every day. Congratulations, Kelly!

Headshot of Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams

Jeff Williams was selected as the TMD Leader of the Year. Jeff manages an exceptional team of meteorologists. His group is responsible for several innovations that contribute to safer roads, less materials costs and better service to the public. The new winter road weather index uses data from UDOT’s Road Weather Information System (RWIS) network to determine the intensity of a storm and the effectiveness of UDOT’s snow removal efforts. The efforts of Jeff and his team keep UDOT in the national spotlight for traveler information weather operations. Congratulations, Jeff!

Headshot of Keith Wilde

Keith Wilde

The TMD Career Achievement Award goes to an employee who has a longstanding history of excellency. This year, Keith Wilde was the award recipient. Keith has over thirty years of experience and leads the traffic signal field technicians. Keith has been instrumental in ensuring UDOT’s traffic signals are truly “world-class”. Keith is the resident expert on electronics for traffic signals. Utah residents may see Keith at a signalized intersection nearby a large special event helping with traffic flow. The UDOT TMD is very fortunate to have Keith and appreciates all of his hard work. Congratulations, Keith!

Photo of session attendees listening to speaker

Traffic Management & Safety breakout session

Projects have been selected for FY15 funding from the 2014 UDOT Research Workshop held on April 30th.

Fifty-nine problem statements were submitted this year for the UDOT Research Workshop. Of these, 16 will be funded as new research projects through the Research Division. Some submitted problem statements will be funded directly by other divisions.

The workshop serves as one step in the research project selection process which involves UDOT, FHWA, universities, and others. UDOT Research Division solicited problem statements for six subject areas: Materials & Pavements, Maintenance, Traffic Management & Safety, Structures & Geotechnical, Preconstruction, and Planning.

At the workshop, transportation professionals met to prioritize problem statements in order to select the ones most suitable to become research projects.

After the workshop, UDOT Research Division staff reviewed prioritization and funding for each recommended problem statement with division and group leaders and presented the list of new projects to the UTRAC Council.

The selected new projects include:

  • Asphalt Mix Fatigue Testing using the Asphalt Mix Performance Tester (CMETG)
  • Developing a Low Shrinkage, High Creep Concrete for Infrastructure Repair (USU)
  • Prevention of Low Temperature Cracking of Pavements (U of U)
  • Review and Specification for Shrinkage Cracks of Bridge Decks (U of U)
  • Incorporating Maintenance Costs and Considerations into Highway Design Decisions (U of U)
  • Unconventional Application of Snow Fence (UDOT)
  • Statistical Analysis and Sampling Standards for MMQA (U of U)
  • National Best Practices in Safety (UDOT)
  • I-15 HOT Lane Study – Phase II (BYU)
  • Characteristics of High Risk Intersections for Pedestrians and Cyclists-Part 3 (Active Planning)
  • Safety Effects of Protected and Protected/Permitted
  • Left-Turn Phases (U of U)
  • Development of a Concrete Bridge Deck Preservation Guide (BYU)
  • TPF-5(272) Evaluation of Lateral Pile Resistance Near MSE Walls at a Dedicated Wall Site (BYU)
  • Active Transportation – Bicycle Corridors vs. Vehicle Lanes (BYU)
  • Investigating the Potential Revenue Impacts from High-Efficiency Vehicles in Utah (UDOT)
  • Developing a Rubric and Best Practices for Conducting Bicycle Counts (Active Planning)

At the April 30th workshop, Dr. Michael Darter of Applied Research Associates gave an inspiring keynote ad-dress on collaboration between state DOTs and academia in developing innovative ideas. Also at the workshop, Barry Sharp, recently retired from UDOT, was presented with the UTRAC Trailblazer Award for his significant contributions towards improving UDOT research processes and the use of innovative products in transportation. Russ Scovil was our workshop coordinator and did a great job.

We appreciate everyone’s participation in the work-shop process. The new research projects can start as early as July 2014 in coordination with UDOT Research staff and champions.

To see details on the new projects and all submitted problem statements, visit the UDOT Research Division website.

This guest post was written David Stevens, P.E., Research Project Manager, and was originally published in the Research Newsletter.

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.