When Clark Fox decided to collect stuffed animals for his Eagle Project, he was totally surprised with the result. The high school junior from Riverton, Utah collected roughly 600 stuffed animals, which were then given to UDOT’s Incident Management Team, the Utah Highway Patrol, and various homeless shelters for distribution to children who find themselves in traumatic situations. He delivered the animals to the Traffic Operations Center in December and was thanked on behalf of the organizations that will receive the stuffed animals.
Clark and his family were then given a tour of the TOC by Wayne Jager to show all the areas that the TOC covers. Clark has a love of “robotics”, so maybe someday we’ll see Clark back at UDOT working on a drone project in the future.
L-R: Richard Shelley, IMT manager Jeff Reynolds, Clark Fox, Clark’s mom, and TOC Director Rob Clayton pose after Fox delivered hundreds of stuffed animals to the IMT for distribution
This post was written by Richard Shelley of the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
Heavy traffic, construction projects expected this weekend on I-15 and I-84
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises travelers driving to the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl this weekend to allow extra time due to heavy traffic and road construction in Arizona, Nevada and Idaho.
Las Vegas Bowl
Drivers traveling south on I-15 to Las Vegas should be aware of expected delays from 30 minutes to an hour on Friday evening, Dec. 18, and Saturday morning, Dec. 19, in the Virgin River Gorge between St. George and Mesquite, Nev. Drivers returning from the bowl game should plan for similar delays on Saturday night, and up to two-hour delays on Sunday morning, as I-15 is reduced to one lane in each direction for bridge construction in the Virgin River Gorge.
In addition, construction delays are expected along a 30-mile stretch of northbound I-15 between Las Vegas and Mesquite. The freeway is reduced to one northbound lane in various locations throughout this construction zone.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Fans planning travel on I-15 and I-84 to Boise should also plan ahead for construction in southern Idaho. I-84 is reduced to one lane in each direction for approximately 11 miles between the I-86 junction and Burley. Crews are replacing two bridges over the Snake River.
More information about these projects is available online at the following websites:
For information on UDOT projects, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app, available for iOS or Android devices. For real-time traffic and road information outside of the state, there are several smart phone applications available for download, including the Waze navigation app.
Whether you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on green, the traffic signal is one invention that revolutionized the world. And because of that, Google has taken to honor the anniversary of the first installation with a “doodle”.
August 5, 2015’s Google Doodle
On August 5, 1914, the first traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, on the corner of 59th and Euclid. With 20,000 cars being sold per month in 1914, and horse-drawn wagons, street cars, and carts still in play, city streets in America were woefully congested, and a need arose for traffic management. Police used to stand in the middle of intersections and wave their arms to control traffic, and just before the turn of the century, England tried a gas-lit stoplight, but they had a tendency to explode.
But what does that have to do with Utah?
One of the solutions to the traffic management problem came when Lester Wire — a Salt Lake City policeman — created a traffic light out of a hand-made wooden box that had red and green lights whose wires were attached to light wires above. Right in the Beehive State, a solution was born.
This replica of Lester Wire’s first traffic light greets visitors to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
We’ve come a long way since 1914, and UDOT is proud of what our employees at the Traffic Operations Center have done to create a state-of-the-art traffic management system. Instead of mechanical lights and wooden boxes, we use sophisticated computers that gather traffic and weather data to manage 60% of the 1,927 traffic lights statewide. We use that information to give you the best data, sent right to your smart phone, and we also have one of the few in-house DOT weather rooms, staffed with two full-time meteorologists and 8 weather professionals.
Next time you’re sitting at a red light or passing through on a green light, you can thank a fellow Utahn for coming up with a traffic solution. Thank you, Google, for giving us a chance to walk down memory lane!
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This post was written by Christina Davis, Communications Manager on The Point project.
The following Silver Barrel nomination was written by Corey Coulam, UDOT Traffic Operations Center Control Room Manager.
On the night of March 22 around 8:30, the control room received a message from Salt Lake County dispatch describing a report from a Utah Highway Patrol Trooper of a loud popping noise at 2100 South and 900 West. Operators, Scott Fugate, Tyler Rasband and Joseph Burns, took action to use a traffic camera to try to locate what the trooper had reported. They quickly identified the flames of a fire started by transients that threatened a structure.
The operators provided the live stream video feed to Salt Lake County UHP dispatch and gave them a detailed description of the incident and location. Dispatch then contacted the Fire Department with precise information and visual confirmation readily available. Because of these quick reactions, the Fire Department was able to respond quickly to this incident. The Fire Department is noted in a news article saying that these quick reactions and the availability of a camera feed prevented this from becoming a larger fire with the potential for serious infrastructure damage.
This was reported without exact confirmation and, at the time of the incident, there were no traffic impacts whatsoever however these operators relied on their experience and skills to help emergency responders. Scott Fugate, the shift supervisor and his familiarity (from almost 8 years of working in the control room) with UHP, dispatch, and situational awareness provided him the ability to realize that this had the potential to become a large scale incident. In addition, operator skills with control room software and camera use played a large role in helping them to locate this incident on a surface street location where camera coverage is poor. What makes this more impressive is the fact that the call came at night, when the difficulty of locating incidents by camera is significantly increased.
Members of the Traffic Operations Center receive their Silver Barrel award from Executive Director Carlos Braceras
Traveler Information Manager Lisa Miller receives a Silver Barrel award.
You’ve used the app. You’ve seen the traffic cameras on TV or online, and you might have even seen the Traffic Operations Center in person. But have you ever wondered what exactly goes into getting the information? We’ll take you on a “ride along” and show you how.
Through the technology and data of the Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), UDOT can Keep Utah Moving. Recently, a critical part of the system was updated along the I-15 corridor, as newer controllers were installed and programmed. The controllers gather volume and speed data from passing vehicles. Although no identifying information is collected, it does give a wealth of data on the speed of traffic, the density of traffic, weather conditions, etc.
The replacement process starts when the new lane controllers are programmed with the proper software to collect the data. The controllers run on Linux-based command prompts and also use custom software add-ons. The base software is programmed at the UDOT Traffic Operations Center.
Kent (left) and David (right) are in charge of maintaining and upgrading the ATMS systems along the Wasatch Front.
Once the controllers are programmed, they are ready to be deployed into the field. The first set to be replaced was along southbound I-15 at 3300 South.
Kent and David working in an ATMS cabinet alongside I-15.
The new controllers are wired in and turned on. They also have to be programmed once they are in the cabinet by using data from a controller at a different location. This process requires time, patience and many command prompts.
The lane controllers are installed as a pair, in case one fails while in the field. One acts as the primary and one as a secondary. They both have ability to function independently, but also as a pair.
Once the new controllers are field-programmed, they are brought online and tested to make sure that they are working properly. Once they are tested and confirmed to be working, the ATMS crew moves on to calibrate and install the next set of lane controllers. The whole process of removing the old boxes and installing and testing the new ones takes just under an hour per cabinet.
An overhead sensor that collects data from Express Lane users.
UDOT also uses in-pavement “pucks” that collect traffic data. All of this information is sent to a nearby traffic cabinet and then to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center. The information is used to create the congestion layers on the UDOT Traffic app and website, so travelers can know about delay and congestion information for their trips.
An in-pavement “puck” that collects speed data from passing vehicles.
This guest post was written by Adam McMillan, Traffic Operations Center Intern.
If you’ve ever had a flat tire, run out of gas, or driven by a crash on Utah’s roadways, chances are you’ve seen the white Incident Management trucks loaded with orange traffic cones, their electronic signs on the top with vital information. An integral part of how the state deals with time-sapping events on our roadways, UDOT’s Incident Management Team has 15 teams on call statewide for just about anything that can happen.
But it wasn’t always that way: After 20 years, it’s time to celebrate the service of the unsung heroes of the IMT team.
IMT members Billy Frashure, Nick Jarrett, Mark Whittaker, Jeff Reynolds and Alan Peterson are some of the professionals keeping Utah drivers safe. Photo by Adan Carrillo
In 1994, UDOT started a courtesy patrol — two trucks assigned to help drivers in the Salt Lake Area. But time and demand have increased the IMT’s role. No longer is the team looked at as a courtesy — but a necessity — in keeping Utah freeways safe and traffic moving from Logan to St. George and everywhere in between.
Consider this: since 2004, the IMT has helped more than 120,000 motorists in the Beehive State. With these professionals specifically trained in clearing crashes off the road quickly and then staying on the scene, emergency personnel and the Highway Patrol can focus on what they do best while knowing IMT is protecting them on the road.
Another important stat: with each minute saved by clearing a crash, five minutes of delays are prevented. Clearing crashes also helps prevent secondary crashes.
“Think of how many drivers have been helped since 1994, how many injuries have been prevented, or lives saved?” said UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras during a celebration on Monday. “IMT is a critical piece to help us reach our goal of Zero Fatalities.”
Braceras went on to give all of us safety tips to help IMT and UDOT out with the goal of Zero Fatalities on Utah roads:
Don’t stop on the freeway unless it’s an emergency
If you ARE involved in an incident, stay in your car with your seat belt on.
Slow down and move over to the next lane if you see a vehicle on the side of the road — it’s the law to do so for emergency vehicles.
Make sure you have enough fuel to make your trip safely
Check your spare tire to see if it’s in working condition
Prepare for the worst weather by keeping a blanket, food and water in the car.
Leave a lot of distance between you and the car in front of you.
Five Incident Management Team Vehicles offered the media ride-alongs to give them a better idea of what it’s like to be an IMT professional. Photo by Adan Carrillo.
The 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.