Tag Archives: Traffic and Safety Division

Region Two Sign Crew Members Get a Silver Barrel Award for Quick Installation

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Silver Barrel Award recipients (From left): Jayson Kesler, Amber Mortenson and Brandon Butters with UDOT executive director Carlos Braceras.

Sign Crew members Jayson Kesler and Brandon Butters and Traffic and Safety Coordinator Amber Mortenson received the Silver Barrel award Wednesday for their quick work getting a crosswalk up and ready for kids walking to school.
Earlier this month, region two was given the approval to install a school crosswalk across 3500 South and 6180 West due to some recent school boundary changes.
After a site visit Amber Mortenson contacted Jayson Kesler, lead at the sign crew, and explained to him that we needed signs up before school started that coming Wednesday. Jayson and crew went out and installed the foundations and posts later that day. The sign installation was delayed until the pavement markings could be installed.
Just a few days later, the city requested they be allowed to stripe the crosswalk since they had a crew available and it was needed the very next morning. So late in the day Amber again called on Jayson and his crew with a emergency request, asking them to in stall the signs before 6:45 the next morning.
Jayson did not hesitate and told Amber he would make it happen. Jayson’s entire crew is working on SR-150, most of them are even staying locally to make the job more efficient, so they were not close. Jayson Kesler and Brandon Buttars made the drive at 3:30 am to get the signs from the station and have them installed before the kids started crossing at 6:45 am.
The kids had a safe passage and the local police thanked them for helping make that possible on such short notice.
The sign crew always does what is asked of them with a smile and without complaining.

 

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The Silver Barrel Recipients with the entire Region Two leadership team.

#WorkForUsWednesday for April 13, 2016

Hey job seekers. We’re spotlighting two new job openings for today’s #WorkForUsWednesday.

  • Recruitment #8065 – Engineering Intern, Region 2 – SLC, Opens 4/7/2016, Closes 4/24/2016
  • Recruitment #08260 – Employee Safety Manager, Complex – Traffic & Safety – SLC, Opens 4/7/2016, Closes 4/18/2016

Visit the Utah State Jobs website to actually apply for these position. Simply filter the search criteria by department to (810) Department of Transportation, and you’ll be on your way.

We hope to see you proudly wearing UDOT orange soon.

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.

UDOT explains the 90s

One of the trending topics for today on twitter was #explainthe90sin4words. We here at UDOT got nostalgic thinking about the fashion, music and sports from the decade that brought us flannel shirts, boy bands, and the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals.

An artist's rendition of what the "new" I-15 would look like

An artist’s rendition of what the “new” I-15 would look like

Our memory jogged back to 1997, when we started the Interstate 15 reconstruction project, which was UDOT’s first design-build procurement. The project involved the reconstruction of 16.2 miles of the interstate in the Salt Lake Valley, including the addition of new general-purpose lanes to go along with high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The project involved the construction or reconstruction of more than 130 bridges, the reconstruction of seven urban interchanges, and the reconstruction of three major junctions with Interstate routes 80 and 215.

The project was the largest ever undertaken by the State of Utah, and is still the largest single design-build highway contract in the United States. It cost $1.63 billion, with $448 million coming from federal funds and 1.184 billion coming from the state.  Construction was finished in the summer of 2001.

The reconstruction project presented the Department with significant challenges in scheduling and construction, especially with the goal of finishing prior to the Winter Olympics in 2002, and without prolonged traffic disruptions. The design-build approach allowed us to meet those demands while also benefitting from several private sector innovations and value-added features.

We’re happy with the effect this monumental project has had on the lives of Utahns, and those who have traveled in our great state. We’re also grateful for all of you who were patient with the process a decade and a half ago.

And thanks to twitter for taking us back to memory lane.

A photo from the I-15 reconstruction in the late 1990s.

A photo from the I-15 reconstruction in the late 1990s.

 

SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll

Grapic showing three school kids and the SNAP Walk 'N Roll slogan Since 2009, the UDOT SNAP team has been teaching Utah students the importance of safe walking and biking practices. To encourage more students to walk and bike to school, the SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll assembly was created. Featuring professional performers and catchy, upbeat songs, the SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll assembly is a highly-sought after coveted production that covers what to do in construction zones and how regular exercise can improve a student’s focus and health.

With the new school year comes another round of SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll assembly performances. This year SNAP was pleased to bring the assembly to 30 schools across the state. To date, more than 100,000 Utah students have seen the SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll assembly.

Photo of SNAP Walk 'N Roll AssemblyThe SNAP assembly is available to elementary schools in the Alpine, Canyons, Davis, Granite, Jordan, Murray, Nebo, Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake and Weber school districts. Elementary schools outside of the listed districts can request a free SNAP, Walk ‘N Roll DVD, that features the entire assembly performed on a professional sound stage.

The music from the SNAP assembly is available for free on the UDOT SNAP website.

To see more pictures and learn about the SNAP performers, visit the SNAP Facebook page.

This guest post was written by Cherissa Wood UDOT’s School and Pedestrian Safety Program Manager.

SNAP 2013 Walk More in Four Challenge

Photo of Director Carlos Braceras addressing kids at Dilworth ElementaryThe Student Neighborhood Access Program, or SNAP, is committed to promoting safe walking and biking habits for Utah’s elementary and middle school age children. Every year, SNAP holds a competition that encourages Utah students to walk and bike to school instead of being dropped off by a parent.

The fifth annual Walk More in Four challenge, held every September, was once again successful in encouraging Utah students to walk and bike safety to school. The WMIF challenge awarded 600 prizes to students all across the state who walked or biked at least three days a week during the four weeks of September. Prizes included bikes, scooters, helmets and more.

At this year’s WMIF kickoff event at Dilworth Elementary in Salt Lake City, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras spoke to students, parents and teachers about the importance of safe walking and biking practices.

Photo of students signing walk more in four pledge sheetNew to the challenge this year were online progress charts. Students and parents could log on to the WMIF website and track their walking and biking progress. The online progress charts allowed SNAP to collect more accurate information about the students who participated, as well as provided a paper-free way to turn in charts. More than 45 percent of students who participated in this year’s challenge took advantage of the online progress chart and SNAP hopes to see even more use the online charts next year.

This year the WMIF challenge had a record 160 schools participate in the challenge, and a record $8,500 was collected in donations from Walmart locations across the state.

And check out these lucky winners.

Photo of Daisey Allen staning on the seat of her bike wearing her helmet

Daisey Allen, a student at Kanab Elementary in Kanab, Utah, showing off her new bike and helmet.

Photo of student winners with their prizes.

UDOT School and Pedestrian Safety Program Manager Cherissa Wood poses for a picture with scooter winner Arianna Kerr and bike winner Holden Anderson at Middle Canyon Elementary School in Tooele, Utah.

Photo of student standing next to his prize.

Bates Elementary kindergarten student Brock Berry smiles with his scooter and helmet in his classroom.

This guest post was written by UDOT School and Pedestrian Safety Program Manager Cherissa Wood.

Speed Limit Amendments

Northbound I-15 near Paragonah 80 mph speet limit sign

Existing 80 mph zone on northbound I-15 near Paragonah. Photo taken by Ming Jiang of the Traffic and Safety Division.

A number of bills passed by the legislature this past session affect Utah roads and highways. One of these bills was HB 83: Speed Limit Amendments. This bill expands portions of I-15, I-80, and I-84 where the Utah Department of Transportation may establish a posted speed limit that exceeds 75 miles per hour. These sections of freeway include, portions of I-15 from Santaquin to St. George and from Brigham City to the Utah-Idaho border. Portions of I-80 potentially affected will be from Grantsville to the Utah-Nevada border and I-84 from Tremonton to the Utah-Idaho border.

If the Department of Transportation chooses to increase the speed limit in these sections the department will evaluate the results and impacts of increasing the speed limit and will report the findings of the evaluation to the Transportation Interim Committee no later than one year after the speed limit is posted.

This bill continues a process which began a number of years ago to evaluate some of Utah’s interstates to determine if there are areas that could appropriately accommodate speed limits above what is currently posted.

Opponents of this bill feared that with an 80 mile per hour speed limit there would be an increase in accidents and that drivers would increase their speed beyond 90 miles an hour. Through the studies conducted over the past few years the department has found that this is not the case.

Beginning in 2008, studies were conducted on portions of I-15, where the speed limit was increased from 75 to 80 mph. The studies concluded that most drivers preferred to drive between 82 and 83 mph regardless of the posted speed limit. Accident rates on these stretches of freeway were also studied and concluded that the increased speed did not affect the number of accidents or fatalities.

Copper Wire Theft

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Thieves used a golf club shaft to locate the copper wiring. They dug it up, cut it, and tried to pull it out by attaching it to a vehicle.

Driving in the dark lately? You may have noticed the lights are out along some sections of major interstates, like I-15, I-80, and I-215. But don’t blame the power company or burned out light bulbs…the real culprits are thieves who are in the business of stealing copper wire.

When you and I drive past the big light posts on the freeway, we might not think twice about the copper wiring that powers high mast and interchange lighting. But to some, the junction boxes next to the posts are a gold mine waiting to be found. To uncover the copper wiring and pull it out, thieves have used everything from shovels and trucks…to golf clubs and horses.

To combat their creativity, we’ve got to get a little creative ourselves. Led by Richard Hibbard, UDOT’s State Lighting Maintenance Crew (Mike Bishop, Todd Wright, John Garcia, Walter “Woody” Wood, and Brandon Clark) focuses on the hardest hit areas and the biggest targets.

Wire Theft Photo 2

The lighting crew has tried relocating and burying boxes as a method of theft deterrent, but in this case, the thieves managed to locate the box and dig it up.

The crew is now moving junction boxes away from the light posts and burying them randomly, making the boxes more difficult for thieves to find. (Don’t worry, we’ve got a locator ball inside so our own guys know where they are.) The crew is also welding handhole covers onto poles, filling some boxes with concrete, and adding rebar to others to make it harder to chip the concrete away.

Despite our best efforts, thieves are still getting to some of those areas and they’re hitting new locations seemingly every week. Hibbard says some of the hot spots are I-80 near Stansbury Park, I-215 at 700 North and 2100 North, I-15 at 600 North, and I-215 at I-80. He says, “I- 215 at I-80 is just a mess. If anyone wants to know why those lights are out it’s because half the wiring is gone.”

In fact, the amount of copper wire that UDOT has had to replace in just the past two years is staggering. Since February 2011, crews have replaced 110,000 feet of copper wire in Region 2 alone.

Wire Theft Photo 3

Sign structures are fair game with wire thieves. Here they have cut wire in a structure-mounted disconnect box and pulled it out through the ground-level junction box.

They suspect there’s another 75,000 feet missing they haven’t gotten to yet. And the situation does not appear to be improving. In January 2013, thieves made off with 15 hundred feet of copper wire from just one location.

Metal recyclers pay about $2.75-$3.00 per pound for unstripped wire, so a thousand feet of stolen wire would net someone anywhere from $300 to $700. Unfortunately, it costs a lot to replace that wire, and taxpayers are footing the bill. In the past two years, nearly $450,000 of materials and man hours has gone into replacing stolen copper wire. That’s enough money to pay for 26,000 feet of new cable median barrier.

Something needs to change, but what can we do? The answer is keep your eyes open. Hibbard says, “If you see anyone that appears to be working on lighting, someone should be asking questions.” And he means anyone. If you see a guy on a bike digging near a light post, a car pulled off the side of the freeway, or even someone in an orange vest poking around a junction box…be suspicious.

Hibbard suspects many of the thieves are electricians or others who know what they’re doing and look professional. He thinks some thefts may be happening during the day, but most happen at night. “The most suspicious thing is just any time you see a car parked on the side of the road, especially at night. I always find myself wondering what’s going on there.”

If you suspect copper wire theft is underway, but you’re not quite sure, you can always call the TOC and they’ll be able to find out if there’s legitimate work going on in that location.

Wire Theft Photo 4

The lighting crew welded a metal plate over a handhole, but in this case the thieves were able to bend it enough to get to the wire.

If you’re positive there’s a theft underway, just call the police. Let’s put the thieves behind bars, because after all, it’s our taxpayer money they’re stealing.

Wire Theft Photo 8

Thieves will attempt to chip out concrete caps within a box, but rebar will prevent the concrete from “chunking,” making removal far more difficult.

Wire Theft Photo 5

This is an example of a theft-deterring junction box lid. The polymer concrete has a steel plate backing and is attached to the box with security bolts. However, this hasn’t stopped someone from attempting to chip out a bolt as is evident on the lid surface.

FIVE WAYS TO SAVE LIVES ON UTAH’S ROADS

In 2012, 215 lives were lost on Utah’s roads in car crashes—the lowest Utah traffic fatalities have been since 1959. We are making progress toward our goal of Zero Fatalities, but we still have a ways to go. These 215 fatalities were preventable and we hope we can continue to see this number decline, ultimately to zero.

Fatality Numbers

Here are five simple ways to save lives—including your own—on Utah’s roads.

  1. Always, always buckle up. Wearing your seat belt is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash. In 2012, buckling up could have saved 67 lives on Utah’s roads. Buckling up takes two seconds to do, and could mean the difference between life or death in a crash. Commit now to always wear your seat belt, and let your passengers know that your car won’t move until everyone is buckled up.
  2. If you’ve been drinking, don’t drive. Designate a driver, call a cab or take public transit. There is no excuse for driving under the influence. Sadly, 41 people died in Utah due to impaired driving in 2012. Alcohol and illegal drugs aren’t the only things that can impair your driving. Prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and lack of sleep can also impair your ability to drive safely.
  3. Too tired? Don’t drive. Believe it or not, drowsy driving kills. Fourteen fatalities in 2012 are attributed to drowsy driving. If you’re feeling drowsy, pull over and switch drivers, find a safe place to sleep for the night or get out of the car and stretch or jog for a few minutes. Drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving.
  4. Stay focused on the road. With so many potential distractions, a driver’s attention may easily get diverted if the driver isn’t making a conscious effort to stay focused on the road. It takes just one time of looking away for a brief moment—reading a text, changing the radio or even answering the phone—to cause a disaster. Twenty people died in 2012 in distracted driving-related crashes.
  5. Slow down and don’t drive aggressively. Whether you have a “need for speed” or you’re running a few minutes late, pushing that accelerator a little harder could cost you your life—it cost 43 people theirs in 2012. A total of 49 people died on Utah’s roads in 2012 due to aggressive driving or speeding. Aggressive driving means operating a vehicle in a way that endangers or is likely to endanger people or property.

2012 Zero Fatalities Infographic

Join us as we continue the conversation about Zero Fatalities, what you can do and how we’re doing toward our goal in 2013 by following us on Twitter and liking us on Facebook. You can also review the full 2012 Fatalities Data Analysis report by visiting the Zero Fatalities website.

This post was written by Jane Putnam, Zero Fatalities Team.

FOCUS ON SEATBELTS

Utah traffic related fatalities are the lowest in 36 years, but there’s no low that’s too low.

Tim Cosgrove, who works as a Child Advocate for Primary Children's Medical Center, encourages Mallory to keep speaking out about safe behavior choices.

Out of the 235 people who lost their lives in 2010, 89 were not wearing seatbelts. ” That’s 89 people who could be here with us today,” says UDOT Deputy Director Carlos Braceras.

“We do our best to engineer the roads,” said Braceras. “But there’s only so much that we can do. We can’t make you put down that cell phone. We can’t make you give the keys to someone who hasn’t been drinking. We can’t make you put on your seat belt. That’s up to everyone who gets in a car.”

Reducing crashes on our roads is a shared responsibility

One fatality means the loss of a beloved sibling, child or parent. Eighteen year old Mallory Martinez knows she might have been one of those fatalities had she not been wearing a seatbelt one day last November.

The Westminster College student was on her way home to Price, Utah for a weekend visit and was operating her iPod while driving on U.S. 6. She clipped a trailer “and from there I just spun and lost control,” said Martinez.

While her car was rolling, her thoughts were on her siblings and parents. Her car was totaled but she walked away with some scrapes. Martinez knows she’s lucky so she takes time to tell others to stay safe.

Video Courtesy of KSL.com