Tag Archives: Region 3

Don’t get run over by a GRAMA

During this time of year, when we hear the word “GRAMA,” it is usually followed by the words: “got run over by a reindeer.”

But not for Brandi Trujillo.

Brandi is a member of UDOT’s risk management team. Part of her assignment is to respond to requests for information, documents and materials made through Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act – otherwise known as GRAMA requests. And those requests come in at a rate of about two requests per working day – even during the holidays.

“The law is designed to give everyone – from the media to business and political interests to everyday citizens – access to public records,” Brandi said. “We do the public’s work with public money, and it’s the public’s right to know how and why we spend it.”

As a state agency, Brandi said, responding to these requests is not just a matter of law. “UDOT has identified transparency as one of our primary emphasis areas,” she said. “We really believe in that. So responding to these requests is important to us as a matter of principle, not just because we are required to do it.”

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo processes GRAMA requests from her office.

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo

Because UDOT intends to respond appropriately to GRAMA requests, UDOT’s attorneys feel it is important that employees understand what kinds of records are subject to GRAMA scrutiny. Renee Spooner, who is an assistant Attorney General for the state of Utah and is assigned specifically to work with UDOT, said those records include:

  • Work product created in the course of employment
  • Email correspondence and written communication
  • Books
  • Letters
  • Documents
  • Papers
  • Maps
  • Plans
  • Photographs
  • Films
  • Cards
  • Tapes
  • Recordings
  • Electronic data

“Generally,” Spooner said, “the only protected documents are attorney work product and attorney/client communication. Everything else is fair game, regardless of its physical form or characteristics. So it is probably a good idea to remind employees to be sure that the language they use in all of these public records is appropriate, accurate and professional. You never know when a document, map or email you create may become part of a GRAMA request, legal case or news story.”

And nobody wants to get run over by a GRAMA.

Grama Coordinator Brandi Trujillo

All UDOT GRAMA requests are handled at Brandi’s office

New Long-Range Plan released for rural roads

Projects planned over next 25 years will enhance Utah’s economy, quality of life

RICHFIELD —  The Utah Department of Transportation today released its long-range plan forecasting transportation needs in rural Utah over the next 25 years.

The department updates its long-range transportation plan every four years with an eye toward keeping traffic moving now and into the future. The plan focuses primarily on rural areas of the state and identifies a list of projects that will strengthen Utah’s economy and enhance the state’s quality of life.

DSCsr153b

Transportation needs for Utah’s urban areas are developed in cooperation with metropolitan planning organizations like the Wasatch Front Regional Council and the Mountainland Association of Governments. These long-range plans, along with UDOT’s Long-Range Plan, are combined to create Utah’s Unified Transportation Plan, which will be published this fall.

“UDOT follows a fiscally responsible approach to maximize the value of Utah’s infrastructure investment,” said Jeff Harris, UDOT planning director. “The department leverages limited resources in a way that will provide the greatest benefit.”

Harris said the Long-Range Plan considers the unique needs and strengths of rural Utah, including tourism, the energy sector, interstate freight movement, access to recreation opportunities, and the need for enhanced connections between communities. It employs sophisticated travel demand modeling software to anticipate future transportation needs, taking into account projected population growth as well as employment data forecasts.

The plan also reflects the predicted quantity and timing of future funding, as well as public input accumulated during a series of public meetings focused on the draft project list last spring.

Projects listed in this plan include projects to widen roads, add new passing or climbing lanes, modify interchanges and make other needed improvements throughout the state. You can view the Long-Range Plan here http://www.udot.utah.gov/go/lrp.

MEDIA STORIES ON THIS EVENT:

Road projects revealed by UDOT for next 25 years – Taylor Hintz, Ogden Standard-Examiner

UDOT releases long range plan for rural roads” – ABC4Utah

 

#MessageMonday: Seat Belts On, Phones Off

Editors Note: #messageMonday is part of a relatively new, ongoing Zero Fatalities campaign aimed at improving safety behaviors on Utah roads. It is a partnership between UDOT and the Utah Department of Public Safety. More information about the campaign can be found here

081015 VMS

They’re two of the main killers on Utah roads: seat belts (or not wearing them) and cell phones.

According to The National Safety Council, it’s estimated that 1.4 million crashes each year involve drivers using phones (e.g. making calls, choosing music, reading e-mails and texting), and a minimum of 200,000 additional crashes each year involve drivers who are texting. Distracted driving involving some form of phone use accounted for almost 100 fatalities on Utah roads in 2014 ALONE. Whether you’re making a call, looking at a text, or even having Siri send the message for you, there’s too much multitasking for your brain to focus on driving safely, and all too often, it leads to a car crash.

Distracted driving phones

And no matter what caused the crash, your chances of survival increase significantly if you’re wearing a seat belt. Since 2005, unrestrained or improperly restrained victims account for just about half of all car-related deaths on Utah roads. Wearing your seat belt isn’t just a personal choice: it affects everyone around you. In fact, statistics show that unbuckled passengers can increase probability of death for other people in the car by 40 percent. Of course, since May 2015, it’s also the law for everyone to buckle up any time you’re on the road.

So there are the facts.


At UDOT and Zero Fatalities, we’re not trying to scare you into practicing safe driving techniques; it’s about more than that. It’s about each and every life that could have been saved had a different choice been made. It’s about that brother, sister, mother, father, friend, or other loved one who isn’t here, but should be. Car crashes may be inevitable, even with safely designed roads and careful drivers. But each time we get into a vehicle, we can control the choices we make to help keep our roads safer — for our families, our neighbors, and ourselves.

So please wear your seat belt. Wait until your trip is done to make that call or send that text. Your family and friends will be grateful for that choice when you make it to them safely.

 

Mountain View Corridor celebrates partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas

The Utah Department of Transportation’s Mountain View Corridor (MVC) project celebrated an innovative partnership with Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas on Tuesday, June 16. Representatives from the utility companies, team members from MVC and UDOT management were in attendance. Remarks were given by Joe Kammerer, MVC Project Director; Sharon Seppi; Rocky Mountain Power; Bob Checketts, Kern River Gas; and Shane Marshall, UDOT Deputy Director.

MVC Partnership Meeting 16 June 2015 (5)

UDOT, Kern River and Rocky Mountain Power have been on working on relocating utility lines in preparation for construction to begin on the new roadway from 5400 South to 4100 South in West Valley City, in the Spring of 2016. This included installing 5 miles of 36” diameter natural gas pipelines, 52 transmission line poles (345kv and 138kv).

Since the project began, there were few that imagined such extensive utility work could be completed and coordinated so seamlessly. However, this partnering celebration took place because of the excellent cooperation of all parties involved.

“This is a model for how transportation agencies like UDOT and utility companies can work together,” said Checketts, Vice President of Operations at Kern River Gas. He further explained that this partnership has now set the precedent for how Kern River is working with the Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) on another project.

A pin was created in commemoration and was given to all participants symbolizing the partnership between Rocky Mountain Power and Kern River Gas with UDOT.

061615 MVC pin

Mountain View Corridor currently has two lanes open in each direction from 16000 South to 5400 South and will eventually extend to S.R. 201 in Salt Lake County.

To learn more about the Mountain View Corridor project, visit udot.utah.gov/mountainview.

This guest post was written by the Mountain View Corridor Public Involvement team. 

A golden milestone for a Utah County Employee

OREM — He stood there, shielded from the blistering heat, surrounded by buddies on the paint crew he works on. Executive Director Carlos Braceras had come to pay him a visit, and deliver congratulations straight from the Governor of Utah himself. For Region Three’s Mike Sabey, though, he would have much rather been outside painting lines on a road.

Recently, Sabey completed 50 years on the job at the Utah Department of Transportation — a golden anniversary no employee at UDOT has ever achieved. It was for that reason that Braceras, Deputy Director Shane Marshall, Region Three director Terri Newell and others had come to celebrate: five decades working on Utah roads.

“This is phenomenal. I don’t even know what to say,” Sabey said as he was presented with his award.

Mike Sabey with his paint crew

Mike Sabey (middle) with his paint crew

A lot was happening back in 1965: the space race was at a fever pitch, and American soldiers were on the ground in Vietnam. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a brave march to Selma, Ala., which brought about the Voting Rights Act, while race riots ripped through Watts, Calif. Oh, and Muhammad Ali beat Sonny Liston in one round.

In 1965, Hillary Rodham was a senior in high school, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a 17-year-old kid named Lew Alcindor. Winston Churchill died, JK Rowling was born, and Lyndon Johnson became president.

While all this was going on, Mike Sabey was beginning a career at UDOT.

A Utah County native, Mike left his station attendant job at Premoco Gas Station in Lehi to come to UDOT. On May 17, 1965, he was hired as a Light Equipment Operator at Shed 17 in Lehi, where Sabey says he was a “highway weed whacker”. Since then, he’s performed jut about every task in Region Three. He spent 29 years working various jobs in Lehi, and then south to the Provo/Orem area, where he’s spent the last few years on the paint crew.  Mike said he joined the paint crew in order to “try something different”, a motto he’s lived by his entire career.

Executive Director Carlos Braceras honors Mike Sabey after 50 years with UDOT.

Executive Director Carlos Braceras honors Mike Sabey after 50 years with UDOT.

Sabey’s peers say he is the first to give up personal priorities — whether it’s a vacation, a hunt, or even a doctor appointment — because he knows “my guys are counting on me.” He tends to rearrange his life to get a project finished, and is known throughout Region Three as someone who can fix just about anything.

Sabey said the key to his longevity was proper safety and a little bit of luck: in his time at the Department, Mike has never been in an accident caused by him.

 

Mike Sabey's award from Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox

Mike Sabey’s award from Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox

 

Plan ahead for delays on the July 4 weekend

UDOT engineers advise avoiding travel during heavy traffic times; construction to be suspended on most highway projects

 SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for travel delays this July 4 weekend by avoiding heavy traffic times if possible. Although work will be suspended and lanes will be open on most Utah highways, existing restrictions will remain in place to protect the work zone and ensure safety on several major projects in Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, and Summit counties.

UDOT traffic engineers anticipate heaviest traffic this weekend on Thursday, July 2, between noon and 7 p.m., with highest overall traffic volumes expected around 3 p.m. A second period of high traffic is also expected from Saturday, July 4, at 10:30 p.m. to Sunday, July 5, at 12:30 a.m.

To help accommodate high traffic levels, UDOT will be adjusting the timing of traffic signals and ramp meters. UDOT is also partnering with Orem and Provo, as well as Brigham Young University, to help manage traffic to and from the Stadium of Fire event. Motorists attending the Stadium of Fire are encouraged to avoid construction on Orem Center Street, and use 800 North or University Parkway as an alternate.

Road construction projects that drivers should be aware of when planning their trips this weekend include:

I-15 at the Point of the Mountain
All four lanes are open in both directions on I-15. However, the northbound lanes have been split into two sections between S.R. 92 and 14600 South. Drivers wanting to exit at 14600 South need to stay to the right through the lane split. Due to narrowed and shifting lanes throughout the construction zone, the speed limit has been reduced to 55 miles per hour.

I-80 in Summit County
I-80 is reduced to one lane in each direction from the U.S. 40 interchange to Wanship in Summit County. All traffic has been shifted to the eastbound lanes, and the speed limit is reduced to 45 miles per hour. In addition, the westbound on- and off-ramps at Exit 150 (Tollgate/Promontory) are closed. To reduce delays, drivers should consider using I-84 through Ogden as an alternate route. These restrictions are scheduled to remain in place through fall 2015 while crews reconstruct the freeway with concrete pavement.

Drivers should remember to stay alert, use caution, and obey posted speed limits when traveling through construction zones in order to ensure safety.

Construction schedules are weather dependent and subject to change. For more information about these and other UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices.

With lane splits, closures, Utah drivers need to plan ahead

Lane splits at the Point of the Mountain, lane closures in Davis County may delay drivers  

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for travel delays on I-15 in Davis and Utah counties beginning as early as Saturday night. Crews will install a new lane split at the Point of the Mountain, and close lanes on I-15 in Davis County to allow concrete to cure.

The following is a brief description of road construction projects that drivers should be aware of this weekend (all schedules subject to change due to weather or equipment issues):

I-15 at the Point of the Mountain

A new lane split is scheduled to be in place on northbound I-15 at the Point of the Mountain starting as early as Sunday morning. The split will divide the northbound lanes into two sections while crews reconstruct the center lanes of the freeway. As part of this split, the two outside lanes will be shifted onto the new permanent pavement for the first time.

All four lanes will continue north on I-15 – however, drivers planning to exit at 14600 South will need to stay right. The lane split will allow UDOT to keep all four lanes open through construction along this busy section of I-15.

Once this split is in place, all four lanes will be reopened at S.R. 92 (currently, one northbound lane is closed at the interchange). To better control traffic merging onto I-15, the ramp meter for the northbound S.R. 92 on-ramp to I-15 will be turned on.

The lane split will work much like it does in Davis County, as shown in the video below.

 

I-15 in Davis County

Southbound I-15 is scheduled to be restricted to three lanes near 400 North in Bountiful for barrier work. Beginning as early as Friday, June 26, at 4 p.m., crews will close the right lane of southbound I-15. This restriction is scheduled to remain in place through Saturday, June 27, at 4 p.m. to allow the concrete to cure.

Northbound I-15 is scheduled to be restricted to three lanes near 2600 South in Bountiful this weekend. Beginning as early as Saturday, June 27, at 6 p.m., crews will close one northbound lane for bridge work. This restriction is scheduled to remain in place through Monday, June 29, at 6 a.m. Drivers should plan ahead for minor delays during this time, and consider using alternate routes such as Legacy Parkway.

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For more information about these and other UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices.

Use Click ‘N Fix to help Utah water quality

We’re interested in hearing from you on UDOT Click ‘n Fix — but not just about potholes and traffic signals. We also want your help stopping water pollution. That’s right, water pollution. I was surprised when I first heard about this too! Besides having miles and miles of highways to monitor, we also have acres and acres of right-of-way, and we want to make sure any bodies of water downstream, or near these areas, remain clean and pollutant-free.

Here’s where you come in: If you see any spills or illicit discharges on a UDOT maintained route, open the Click ‘n Fix app, answer a few questions and we’ll have our risk management division investigate.

Big Cottonwood Creek flows right next to S.R. 190 and the UDOT right-of-way. Please let us know if you see any spills or pollutants making their way into our waterways by using UDOT Click ‘n Fix. Not only in obvious places like Big Cottonwood Canyon, but also in populated areas where storm drains eventually empty into water as well.

Big Cottonwood Creek flows right next to S.R. 190 and the UDOT right-of-way. Please let us know if you see any spills or pollutants making their way into our waterways by using UDOT Click ‘n Fix. Not only in obvious places like Big Cottonwood Canyon, but also in populated areas where storm drains eventually empty into water.

So, what are spills and illicit discharges?

Spills are when something other than storm water unintentionally “spills” on the highway or right-of-way. For example, after a car crash, a vehicle may leak oil or antifreeze onto the highway. It needs to be properly cleaned up and disposed of to keep the pollutants out of the storm drain or an adjacent stream, river, lake or wetland.

Illicit discharges may also be unintentional or they may be illegal dumping activities. Some examples of illicit discharges are sprinkler runoff that contains pesticides, fertilizers or weed killers; detergents, oil and grease from washing a car; or someone dumping waste into a storm drain. We also want to know if someone is connecting a pipe or ditch to UDOT’s property or drainage system.

The UDOT Click ‘n Fix app is available on Google Play or iTunes and on our website. Please keep in mind that if you witness something that is endangering public safety, please call 911. This not only applies to spills and pollutant discharges, but also our other Click ‘n Fix issues like road debris.

With your help, we hope to keep pollutants from entering storm drains and making it into Utah’s streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. Utah is such a beautiful state, and water is so precious that you can count us in for doing everything we can to keep it pristine.

 

Delay data to help drivers “Rethink Your Commute”

DRAPER — As part of UDOT’s ongoing efforts to minimize the inconvenience of construction, the Traffic Operations Center (TOC) is posting a new set of travel data on the overhead variable message signs (VMS).

Starting today, commuters traveling on I-15 through The Point project at the Point of the Mountain will be able to see the difference in delay for the time of day that they are on the road, compared to earlier or later.

The Variable Message Sign on SB I-15 near 8200 South educates motorists on the best times to commute around The Point.

The Variable Message Sign on SB I-15 near 8200 South educates motorists on the best times to commute around The Point.

For example, a driver traveling from I-215 to Lehi Main Street at 5:15 p.m. would have to deal with average delays of nearly 25 minutes. But if that same driver traveled an hour earlier, she would only be delayed about 13 minutes.

A person could also reduce delays by driving later. Taking the same route, a driver could save ten minutes by traveling at 6:30 p.m. instead of 5:30.

Those ten minutes could be spent wrapping up a project at work, or watching the first inning of your kid’s baseball game – rather than stuck in traffic.

In addition to shifting your travel times, there are several other ways you can rethink your commute to avoid getting stuck in construction traffic. Consider TravelWise strategies like taking public transit, telecommuting or carpooling. Learn more at udot.utah.gov/rethink.

Data shows delay times can be decreased significantly by rethinking when you're on the road.

Data shows delay times can be decreased significantly by rethinking when you’re on the road.

This post was written by Christina Davis, Communications Manager on The Point project. 

Utah ranks in top 5 bicycle-friendly states

The League of American Bicyclists released its 2015 Bicycle Friendly State ranking, and the Beehive State comes in at number five.

Washington was ranked first for the eighth year in a row, followed by Minnesota, Delaware, Massachusetts, Utah, Oregon, Colorado, California, Wisconsin and Maryland in the top 10.

“We are very proud of the high quality of life enjoyed by Utahns,” said Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “We have worked to support and provide world-class bicycling opportunities across our state, both for commuting to work and enjoying the natural beauty around us. As we meet the evolving demands of our state and plan for the future, amenities like this will help Utah continue to be one of the greatest places to live, work and play.”

Bikers ride along a trail in a past Road Respect tour.

Bikers ride along a trail in a past Road Respect tour.

At UDOT, Integrated Transportation is our top emphasis area. In all phases of a project, we consider the needs of bicyclists, pedestrians and other Active Transportation users.

On Utah’s scorecard, the state was given top scores on Policies and Programs, Education and Encouragement, Infrastructure and Funding, and Legislation and Enforcement.  When compared against the rest of the country in the various categories, Utah places near the top in just about every one.

Utah’s Collaborative Active Transportation Policy is a partnership between UDOT, Utah Transit Authority, Wasatch Front Regional Council, Mountainland Association of Governments and Salt Lake County to identify 25 focus areas statewide to connect bicycle networks together to increase non-vehicle mobility.

Some projects we’re particularly proud of include:

St. George’s Bluff Street at Red Hills Parkway interchange:  In an area that is historically significant for cycling events, recreational riding & training, and marathons is an intersection where a state highway through a natural preserve meets a city street. In this high-growth section of Utah’s Dixie, the city and state met together with the Southern Utah Bike Alliance to make center exit interchange. The interchange maintains a steady flow of traffic for motorists, safely connects runners and bikers to the trails in the region, and saved taxpayers $4 million by utilizing the natural topography of the area.

An aerial view of the new Bluff St/Red Hills Parkway Intersection.

An aerial view of the new Bluff St/Red Hills Parkway Intersection.

On SR-12, a Bike Path Extension is in its final phase of construction. The project will provide a safe alternative for bicyclist and pedestrian travel by distancing them from traffic. It will also provide a key link in the connectivity of this path from Red canyon to Bryce Canyon National Park. The project, which is a partnership with Garfield County using Transportation Alternatives Program funding, should be finished near the end of the 2015 construction season.

Salt Lake City’s Green Bike Program: This silver-level bicycle community has a Green Bike sharing program that gives a custom approach and bike lane design to fit existing streets. This includes shared lanes.

Jordan River Parkway is 40 miles of urban park that runs along the Jordan River. It stretches from the south end of Salt Lake Valley and connects north into the Legacy Parkway Trail in Davis County, giving tens of thousands of residents access to non-vehicular transportation and recreation.

The entire I-15 South Davis project improves active transportation in the area, especially at 500 South, 400 North, and Parrish Lane.

In Utah County, the Murdock Canal Trail is a multi-use trail that extends 16 miles through seven cities, from Lehi to Orem. It connects with numerous regional and city trails and will have future connections to seven additional trails. The plan for the area is to build a safer, more connected regional bicycle network. Future plans for this system, in conjunction with the Jordan River Parkway and Legacy Parkway Trails, will allow riders to travel from Ogden to Provo using only paved trails. You can view Region 3’s bike plan here.

Along the Wasatch Front, UDOT is continuing to install radar detection  at intersections that are frequently used by bicyclists and other recreationists.

We’re excited that the League of American Bicyclists has honored Utah with a top-5 bicycle-friendly distinction. While there’s still much work to be done to keep up with the state’s amazing rate of growth, we’re committed to exploring every avenue of possibility for active transportation. The creativity, enthusiasm and desire to collaborate with our partners is what drives innovation on Utah roads, and going forward, we’ll continue to strive to improve the quality of life for all Utahns.