Tag Archives: flooding

Nevada I-15 flooding required a multi-state response

A two-mile stretch of I-15 near milepost 91 in Nevada was washed away due to heavy rainfall that started on Monday, September 8th. In an unprecedented storm around 4 inches of rain fell in the space of 2 hours, flooding the road and washing away ground and asphalt leaving the interstate impassable. Record breaking numbers of rainfall were reported along streams in the area.

The Nevada DOT declared a state of emergency on Tuesday, September 9 due to the importance of passenger vehicle and commercial trucking flow on I-15. According to Arizona Department of Transportation, approximately 23,000 vehicles use I-15 each day between St. George, Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada.

Warnings on Utah’s freeway message boards were posted up and down I-15 letting drivers know that the freeway would be closed down and provided details for  alternate routes. These signs went as far east as Nebraska to provide enough time for travelers to change their routes.

Screen shot of tweet that says 'From nevadadot semi restriction lifted (except oversie w/o permit) on NV I-15Information was also available to drivers via the 511 phone line, the Utah Trucking Association, news outlets, Arizona and Nevada DOT’s, the UDOT Traffic website, the UDOT Traffic Twitter account and the UDOT Traffic app. UDOT’s social media channels proved very valuable during this event.

Travelers were directed to take S.R. 56 out of Cedar City to Nevada S.R. 319 and then to the U.S. 93 back to the freeway. UDOT and NDOT worked very hard to provide accurate and timely information to motorists traveling on this alternative.

State DOT’s had to work together. Although the closure was not in Utah UDOT was heavily involved in sending support to the affected areas. Due to increased traffic on S.R. 56 a UDOT Incident Management Team (IMT) was dispatched to assist. The IMT crews directed traffic, filled potholes and moved disabled semis out of traffic.

They also deployed a portable traffic camera trailer to the S.R. 18/S.R. 56 junction to monitor any potential problems and back-ups. UDOT’s Region 4 shared access to this camera with Nevada DOT. Region 4 was also able to respond quickly to a rockslide on the Arizona section of I-15 and sent snow plows to clear rock debris in the Virgin River Gorge area.

Southbound I-15 reopened to traffic on Friday, September 12th to one lane in each direction for passenger vehicles. Northbound lanes reopened on September 18.

Glenn Blackwelder a Traffic Operations Engineer at UDOT said “We could not have done it on our own. It took the communication and resources of the Traffic Operations Center, Region 4 and NDOT working together. We were pleased with how all agencies and divisions were able to work together to get I-15 back open as quickly as possible.”Screen shot of tweet and attached map showing detour route. The tweet reads "Reminder: Nevada I-15 closed due to flooding. So Cal and Vegas detour map:"

This guest post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.

S.R. 28 Flood Clean-up Silver Barrels

Photo of mud and rock over the road and a coal hauling truck trapped in the debris.On July 29, 2014, a rainstorm hit S.R. 28 between Nephi and Gunnison. Several locations between milepost 16 and 29 were flooded, leaving up to six feet of debris on the road in places and trapping a coal hauling truck. This section of S.R. 28 is maintained by the Nephi shed in Region Three and they were dispatched to clear the road, but their available resources were limited.

The Gunnison and Salina sheds were called on to assist with the efforts. They supplied equipment and labor to assist in opening the road. These five individuals received a silver barrel for their efforts assisting Region Three.

Gunnison Station #4462

  • Kevin Conover
  • Marcus Lambert
  • Brian Sorensen
  • Zeb Wignal

Salina Station #4463

  • Brian Quarnberg

Photo of several loaders working to remove debris from S.R. 28This guest post was taken from the Silver Barrel Award nomination submitted by Daryl Friant, Region Four East District Engineer.


Highlights from the 2013 Annual Efficiencies Report

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.

Silver Barrell Award Given for Flood Control Partnering

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.