Tag Archives: Collaboration

Bridging Borders: UDOT engineer featured in AZDOT video

With hundreds of miles of interstate weaving through Utah, have you ever wondered how UDOT deals with transportation issues where highways and interstates cross state lines? This video, produced by our friends at the Arizona Department of Transportation, shows what happens on a project in the Virgin River Gorge, which Interstate 15 runs through. Our own Dana Meier, a UDOT Program Engineer assigned to Washington County in Southern Utah, is featured in it.

The Gorge is a main thoroughfare for those seeking to get between Salt Lake City and Las Vegas, and is a huge connection point for those moving on to Los Angeles and Phoenix. A shutdown of this 29-mile section of road in Arizona can have wide-reaching effects nationally.

In the video, Region 4’s Meier, a 16-year veteran of the department, explains why interstate collaboration is so important.

“That little stretch of I-15 is a critical link for commerce from the port of Long Beach to the rest of the nation,” Meier said. “Maintaining the continuity and communication is critical for the entire system to function. It doesn’t just affect Utah. It affects Nevada and Arizona. It affects all of us.

At UDOT, collaboration is one of our valued emphasis areas. Teaming with local and interstate partners helps meet local and out-of-town traveler needs by providing a better product, and helps various entities share much-needed knowledge and skill. Collaboration also saves time and taxpayer dollars by avoiding costly arguments, claims and litigation.

 

 

Innovative partnerships prove to be the perfect recipe for Patchwork Parkway

PANGUITCH — In a state where innovation is consistently used to Keep Utah Moving, sometimes innovation alone isn’t enough. Unique partnerships between state agencies can be the perfect additional ingredient to accomplish the improbable.

In rural southern Utah, where equipment and manpower are sometimes as few and far between as the towns in the region, innovation and partnering got a much-needed job done quickly and efficiently, while minimizing the use of taxpayer dollars.

Recently, UDOT’s shed 4469 in Panguitch teamed up with Bryce Canyon National Park to create a shoulder on a seven-mile stretch of Scenic Byway SR-143. This stretch of Utah’s “Patchwork Parkway” was in great need of a shoulder, because a simple task like plowing the road or pulling over created potential safety issues.

The project required tools neither the department nor the national park possessed alone. So to combat this issue, they came together to pool resources and manpower to finish the job in a few days, saving each agency valuable time and money.

“The stars just lined up,” said Panguitch Shed manager Robert Brown. “Down here, we’re all neighbors, and you have to get creative to help each other out and get things done.”

Normally, a similar project requires a team of at least six to eight workers, with three on a shouldering machine alone. But with only two full-time employees at the shed, Brown and his counterpart at Bryce Canyon had to think outside of the box. Here are some of the highlights:

• Bryce Canyon provided side delivery dump trucks that offered a more efficient use of asphalt. Standard machines provide four feet of material, even if only two feet are needed.
• UDOT’s grader was used to accomplish both the grading and compaction tasks, as the shoulder in the area is too steep to use conventional steel drum rollers.
• The asphalt used on the project was recycled and obtained from a pit in nearby Hatch, Utah at nearly one-third of the cost of new asphalt.
• The project was completed in two days, with two UDOT Panguitch Shed employees and two Bryce Canyon employees.
• A pull-behind broom hooked to a pickup truck cleaned the road with two passes.

For Brown, the lesson is simple: when government entities work and plan together, the result can be a win-win for both, as well as the surrounding communities.

“Without the shared resources, we wouldn’t have been able to do the job,” Brown said. “I think this shows that governments need to think outside of the box more to collaborate.”