Tag Archives: road construction

Incident Management Team celebrates 20 years of service

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.

Incident Management 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.

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.

See UDOT in 3D

UDOT is moving to an all-3D environment which includes greater use of available design capabilities and an eventual move to a full 3D project workflow.

photo of the Virgin River Arch Bridge.

A photo-realistic image: UDOT built a new bridge over the Virgin River on S.R. 9 near Hurricane to accommodate increased traffic volume. This rendered image shows the new bridge superimposed over the existing bridge, which remains in use.

Embracing a 3D workflow environment will produce some important advantages, including the use of models that can be viewed from all angles in order to assess constructability, utility clash detection models that show a full representation of underground utilities, and animations that can show the built project along with expected traffic flow.

3D models, animations and illustrations can help bridge the communication gaps that sometimes occur among specialties at UDOT, or between the agency and stakeholder groups, since complex engineering data is more easily understood when presented in 3D.

For UDOT designers, the move to 3D represents “a fine tuning of the way we design,” says Bob Peterson, UDOT Methods Engineer. “We’ll be taking our 3D design to a full completion instead of just doing a paper copy as the final output.”

A full 3D workflow

Moving to a full 3D workflow means that projects will be modeled and provided to contractors as a 3D engineered model at advertising, and contractors will return an as-built 3D model that accurately represents project outcome.

Designers at UDOT have been working in 3D for about 20 years. Currently, when projects are advertised, 2D plan sets are made available to all bidding contractors. During the advertising time frame, contractors take those 2D sets and may create their own 3D model. Once the project is awarded, the winning contractor will typically finish a 3D model or hand-enter information for Automated Machine Guidance.

Getting as-built 3D models will represent a big efficiency boost to UDOT. “Once we get to the point where we know exactly what the existing condition is, then the designers don’t have to start from scratch anymore,” explains George Lukes, Standards Design Engineer.

Challenges and strengths

Lukes is overseeing the effort to move to a full 3D workflow. He sees challenges ahead, but recognizes that UDOT has some advantages as an agency, including working with a willing and capable consulting and contracting community.

“The big deal is advertising the project with the model as the legal document,” says Lukes. “Right now the legal documents are our plan sheets, the paper copies – legally that’s what the contractor has to follow. It’s a huge challenge to give the model to the contractor and say ‘this now is the legal document,’ but I think our contractors and consultants are very willing to sit down and figure a way to make that work.”

UDOT Region Four will take on the initial challenge of delivering a 3D model as an advertising package for three projects. All three projects will use CMGC, an innovative contracting method that allows close collaboration between UDOT and a contractor in the preconstruction phase.

Collaboration with the contractor during design will help UDOT minimize risks encountered when building the project “because they know the construction risks better than we do,” says Lukes. “It’s going to give us information that we need, the contractor will be on board with us while we do it, and hopefully we’ll get a lot of good lessons learned from that too.”

Fully embracing 3D capabilities will produce comprehensive planning, construction and design solutions that will benefit UDOT and all contract partners and road users. UDOT will learn how to better minimize risk. Bidding contractors will realize a big efficiency by not having to create baseline models from scratch. The winning contractor will also have UDOT’s model to modify for construction and 3D as-builts will make subsequent design processes more efficient. The outcome will be better roads and a more efficient use of transportation funding.

For more:

See FAQs with a timeline for implementing 3D, presentations, and more at udot.utah.gov/go/3-d

Bentley software training for UDOT employees is offered regularly. For more information, contact Bob Peterson at 801-965-4041 or bobpeterson@utah.gov

Also check out this flyer.

2014 Top 10 Construction Projects

The Utah Department of Transportation’s 2014 construction season will start soon. With more than 175 projects worth more than $800 million, UDOT is in for a busy summer.

A few large-scale expansion projects will help optimize mobility by adding new lanes and roads to accommodate Utah’s growing population. In addition, many preventive maintenance projects will help preserve the state’s infrastructure – keeping roads and bridges in good condition, and avoiding the need for more costly repairs in the future. The department will also continue to use innovative technology to improve traffic flow with the installation of the sixth and seventh diverging diamond interchanges in the state.

The following is a list of the top 10 projects statewide in 2014:

  1. I-15, South Davis County 
    UDOT will extend the longest continuous Express Lanes in the country with the reconstruction of I-15 in Davis County this summer. This project also includes the replacement of multiple bridges from North Salt Lake to Farmington in addition to new interchange configurations at 2600 South and 500 South, which will help improve traffic in those areas. A new pedestrian bridge at Parrish Lane and sidewalk improvements on 500 North and 500 South are also included in the project. Construction is scheduled to start in mid-April and is expected to be complete in 2015. Budget: $117 million
  2. S.R. 201 Reconstruction, Salt Lake County
    Crews will be placing new concrete pavement on S.R. 201 between 5600 West and 9450 West, and widening ramps at the 5600 West interchange. As part of this project, utilities, street signs, and traffic signals will also be upgraded. Work is scheduled start in late April and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. These improvements will prolong the life of the road and reduce congestion in the area. Budget: $20 million
  3. Bangerter Highway/Redwood Road interchange, Salt Lake County 
    UDOT will construct a new interchange at the Redwood Road and Bangerter Highway intersection, similar to the interchange at 7800 South and Bangerter Highway. Construction will start this summer and last for approximately one year. The completed project will improve the flow of traffic in a rapidly growing area of Salt Lake County and enhance safety. Budget: $42 million
  4. I-15, South Cedar City DDI, Cedar City 
    Crews will reconfigure the I-15 interchange at Exit 57, on the south end of Cedar City, as a Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI) to improve the flow of traffic for cars, bikes and pedestrians. It includes new ramp construction and modifications to Main Street and the frontage roads. This will be the sixth DDI in Utah. The project is underway and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. Budget: $10 million
  5. Riverdale Road Reconstruction, Roy
    UDOT is reconstructing Riverdale Road between the I-84 interchange and S.R. 126 in Roy to improve traffic flow and reduce delays in the area. The project will replace the existing asphalt with new concrete pavement, add a northbound off-ramp and a southbound on-ramp at I-15, and construct two new intersections as well as a new bridge over the freeway. Construction is underway and is scheduled for completion in late fall 2014. Budget: $24 million
  6. I-15, 1100 South DDI, Brigham City 
    UDOT is converting the existing 1100 South interchange on Interstate 15 in Brigham City to a DDI – the seventh in the state, and the first in northern Utah. This innovative interchange will improve the flow of traffic for drivers traveling to and from Logan on U.S. 91. The north half of the interchange is under construction and will be completed in summer 2014. Once the north half is complete, traffic will be switched to the new bridge, crews will demolish the existing bridge, and the south half of the interchange in scheduled to be constructed by fall 2014. Budget: $$10 million
  7. I-80, Parleys Resurfacing, Parleys Canyon
    UDOT is resurfacing Interstate 80 in Parleys Canyon from the mouth of the canyon (near Foothill Drive) to the Ranch exit (exit 132).This maintenance project will replace several areas of rough pavement throughout the canyon with new durable asphalt. Construction scheduled to start this summer and is expected to be complete in fall 2014. Budget: $4 million
  8. State Street Resurfacing, Salt Lake County
    UDOT will perform regular maintenance repaving State Street from 400 South to 3300 South, removing the top layer of pavement and replacing it with new asphalt. In addition, crews will reconstruct pedestrian ramps and median islands. Construction is scheduled to start in late April and is expected to be complete by summer 2014. This project will prolong the life of the pavement and provide a smoother ride for drivers. Budget: $4 million
  9. I-80, Silver Creek to Wanship, Summit County
    This project will reconstruct a seven-mile section of Interstate 80, one of the most heavily-traveled highways in Utah, using new concrete pavement to prolong the life of the roadway. Crews will also replace the westbound bridge over Silver Creek. Construction is expected to start in June and is scheduled to be complete in 2015. Budget: $43 million
  10. U.S. 40 improvements, Wasatch, Duchesne, Uintah Counties 
    UDOT crews will be working in several locations along U.S. 40: extending passing lanes near Daniels Summit and Vernal; repaving near Fort Duchesne and Jensen; and upgrading lighting in Roosevelt. These projects will enhance safety for drivers and help traffic flow more smoothly between the Wasatch Front and the Uintah Basin. Construction is underway and is scheduled to be complete by fall 2014. Budget: $13 million

Construction activities, dates and times are subject to change because of weather or delays. For the latest information, download the free “UDOT Traffic” app on any iPhone or Android device or visit udottraffic.utah.gov.

UDOT 2014 Top 10 Road Construction Guide (745KB PDF Download)

2013 Construction Season Nears the End

The leaves have turned, the first snow has fallen on the mountains, and the 2013 construction season is nearing an end. UDOT and contractor crews have completed more than 200 road construction projects statewide in 2013. By the end of the year, 216 projects will have been carried out state roads and Interstates from Plymouth to St. George and from Wendover to Vernal. Each one of these projects was designed to help accomplish one or more of UDOT’s strategic goals:

    Photo of crews working along I-80 in Parleys Canyon

    Construction crews installing a new 66″ concrete pipe along I-80 in Parleys Canyon.

  • Preserve Infrastructure
  • Optimize Mobility
  • Zero Fatalities
  • Strengthen the Economy

In 2013, most construction projects fell under the goal to Preserve Infrastructure. These repaving and rehabilitation projects will keep Utah’s roads in good condition and prevent the need for more costly repairs in the future. Maintaining our highways helps them last as long as possible, and benefits the economy by keeping people, goods, and services moving throughout the state.

In 2012, UDOT completed 229 projects with a total value of $2,783,444,049, which included the I-15 CORE and Mountain View Corridor projects. By comparison, the total value of projects scheduled for completion in 2013 is $631,489,082. To make the best use of a much smaller budget during the 2013 construction season, the department focused on maintaining and making minor improvements to Utah’s roads, rather than major expansion or reconstruction efforts.

During the 2013 construction season, UDOT has resurfaced or repaired pavement on more than 400 miles of Utah highways and roads, and has completed 12 bridge repair or replacement projects. Some notable projects that have been completed or are scheduled for completion this year include:

    Photo of new bridge over I-15 at St. George Blvd during construction

    Workers constructing a new bridge over I-15 as part of the new DDI at St. George Boulevard.

  • I-80 Culvert Installation: Workers installed approximately two miles of 6-foot-diameter concrete pipe along I-80 in Parley’s Canyon to replace the original drainage system constructed in the 1960s.
  • I-15 Widening: Crews widened an 8-mile section of I-15 in southern Utah County from two lanes to three this year to reduce congestion and accommodate future growth in the area.
  • St. George Boulevard Diverging Diamond Interchange (DDI): Workers are converting the existing interchange at I-15 and St. George Boulevard into Utah’s fifth operating DDI to improve the flow of traffic.
  • U.S. 89/91 Repaving: Crews repaved U.S. 89/91 in Cache County from Sardine Summit to Wellsville.
  • U.S. 89 (State Street) Widening: Workers widened and repaved a two-mile section of State Street between Orem and Pleasant Grove.
  • Bangerter Highway Continuous Flow Intersection (CFI): Crews completed a new CFI at the intersection of Bangerter Highway and 13400 South to improve traffic flow in southwest Salt Lake County. Utah leads the nation with 11 CFIs (there are only 20 total in the nation).
  • I-215 Concrete Maintenance: Workers repaired concrete on I-215 from S.R. 201 to North Temple to extend the useful life of the pavement.

Moving forward in 2014, UDOT will widen I-15 at the Point of the Mountain and in Davis County, as well as continue its aggressive focus on maintaining existing roads.

This guest post was written by Leigh Gibson from the UDOT Traffic team. 

Parley’s Canyon Pipe Replacement

I-80 Drainage Pipepipes 1

UDOT is working with W.W. Clyde and Geneva Pipe to begin the replacement of an old drainage system in Parley’s Canyon. The construction, which started at the end of May, begins at the mouth of Parley’s Pipes 2Canyon on I-80 and will extend about 2.5 miles east into the canyon. The pipe will serve to drain Salt Lake City’s excess water as well as the canyon runoff.

The current 50-year-old pipe is buried, in some areas, more than 30-40 feet under the freeway. Crews will work to replace the deteriorating corrugated steel pipe with a new durable concrete pipe. The sections of pipe that are currently underground will be capped off and filled.

This blue metal casing is placed over the wired frame and then transported to the cement pouring deck.

This blue metal casing is placed over the wired frame and then transported to the cement pouring deck.

The new system will be built to the side of the road to make service and maintenance more manageable. This will also keep closures and impacts to a minimum during construction and future maintenance.

Each section of pipe weighs about 25,000 pounds and is 12 feet long. Geneva Pipe creates these massive cement structures at their site in Orem. The specific cement used is built to endure harsh conditions and erosion over time.

The cement is then poured and quickly mixed into the metal casing on the deck.

The cement is then poured and quickly mixed into the metal casing on the deck.

The pipes are made in the Geneva warehouse where the cement is poured into a metal casing that is tightly compacted to create large vertical cylinders that will dry overnight. The type of cement used dries fast because of the way that it is quickly sifted and tightly compacted under extreme amounts of pressure.

These are the wet concrete pipes that will dry overnight.

These are wet concrete pipes that will dry overnight.

Overnight blasting for the construction has already begun and drivers should expect up to 15 minute delays while blasting occurs.

Overnight lane restrictions will also be necessary but one lane in each direction will remain open. Motorists should expect delays, a reduced speed limit and lane closures throughout the project until November 2013. At least three lanes will remain open during high traffic times, including events and on weekends.

Here is a video of the blasting happening at I-80.

Telling a Story

UDOT is using state-of-the-art mapping tools help communicate important information to road users.

Amanda Holm views the Top Ten Story Map.

Amanda Holm views the Top Ten Story Map.

Every spring, UDOT gives road users heads-up on road work by announcing the top road construction projects that may cause travel delay throughout the summer. Communicating the location and duration of those projects was made easier this year because of Geographic Information Tool that uses maps to communicate project details.

UDOT’s Geographic Information System team used the UPlan Map Center  to build a road construction story map that integrates several maps on an interactive web page. The result is a one-stop information site for ten of UDOT’s most high-impact road construction projects.

New GIS technology lets UDOT put map creation tools in the hands of many users where only analysts had access previously.  The UPlan Map Center site allows users to build a custom map, or several maps, quickly and easily. Those maps can then be combined to create a story map that can be viewed in a browser, shared on a blog or embedded in a website.

Better partnering

Maps are a good way to visually define project scope, see trends in space and time, and communicate with work groups or stakeholders. Grouping several maps together can help communicate a more complete story – such as where and when to anticipate road construction.

But road construction project details are not the only information that can be represented on maps. Basically, any feature that can be seen through a windshield while driving on a state route can be represented on a map. Signs, pavement, signals, culverts, all components of the state transportation system, can be mapped.

Other spatial data sets available on the UPlan site include crash data, which lists the number of crashes for each road segment, and crash severity and type, and Average Annual Daily Traffic, which lists level of traffic on state routes.

Cycling MapUDOT’s website currently features a Road Respect Story Map that shows a cycling map series. Together, the maps provide a great resource for cyclist to find popular cycling routes, information on cycling infrastructure, and even rules cyclists and motorists need to know to safely share the road.

GIS team members hope that the use of custom-built maps and Story Maps becomes wide spread at UDOT. GIS Manager Frank Pisani believes that using customized maps can lead to better partnering since maps allow people from different disciplines to reference information for a common interest, “GIS is the science of putting features on a map and solving problems,” says Pisani.

For more information about using customized maps and Story Maps, contact UDOT’s GIS team:

Frank Pisani, GIS Manager
Engineering Technology Services
Cell: (801) 633-6258
E-mail: fpisani@utah.gov

Becky Hjelm, GIS Specialist
Cell: (801) 386-4162
Office: (801) 965-4074
E-mail: bhjelm@utah.gov

This post was written by Catherine Higgins of the Project Development division.

2013 Top 10 Construction Projects

UDOT Logo udot.utah.govWith summer fast approaching, we would like to share our top 10 road construction projects for 2013.

While there will not be as many large road projects in 2013, there will still be more than 150 construction projects statewide that will require drivers to plan ahead. This season, we will continue to perform maintenance on our roads and bridges to ensure they remain in good condition and last as long as possible.

We will also use innovative technology to improve traffic flow with the installation of the fifth and sixth diverging diamond interchanges (DDI) as well as the 11th continuous flow intersection (CFI) in the state.

The following is a list of the top 10 projects statewide in 2013:

 

  1. I-80 Drainage Pipe Replacement, Salt Lake County. Crews will install new drainage pipe in Parleys Canyon to replace the existing system. Drivers should expect lane closures throughout the summer. Project completion is estimated for December 2013.
  2. I-15, South Payson Interchange to Spanish Fork River. This summer, crews will work to widen seven miles of pavement and bridges on I-15 from the South Payson Interchange to the Spanish Fork River. Most of the work will take place in the freeway median, and construction is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
  3. Southern Parkway, St. George. The Southern Parkway is a 33-mile project that will eventually become an eastern belt route for Washington County. Currently, eight miles are complete from I-15 to the new St. George Airport. Construction continues this spring and summer to extend the new highway another eight miles.
  4. S.R. 193, Davis County. Crews are extending state Road 193, the Bernard Fisher Highway, from 2000 West (S.R. 108) on 200 South in West Point to 700 South and State Street (S.R. 126) in Clearfield. Work scheduled this spring and summer includes earthwork, utility relocations, drainage and sound wall construction. Temporary road closures or blockages may happen from time to time on local streets and trails.
  5. I-15, St. George Boulevard DDI Interchange Reconfiguration. Reconstruction work will take place on the existing diamond interchange to install southern Utah’s first diverging diamond interchange. Work is expected to begin this summer and finish by the end of the year.
  6. U.S. 89/91 Repaving, Sardine Summit to S.R. 23, Cache County. The second phase of work continues from last season’s repaving of U.S. Highway 89/91. Maintenance work will take place from Sardine Summit to Wellsville to maintain a smooth road surface and prolong the life of the roadway. Daytime lane closures will be taking place throughout the summer.
  7. I-15, 1100 South (U.S. 91) DDI Interchange, Brigham City. Work to build the first diverging diamond interchange in northern Utah will begin this summer on the I-15 and 1100 South interchange in Brigham City. Traffic may be redirected around the project throughout its duration, but crews will work to minimize delays. This project is expected to be complete next summer.
  8. U.S. 89 Improvements, Orem to Pleasant Grove. Crews will make several improvements to State Street between Orem and Pleasant Grove this summer. The road will be widened to seven lanes, repaved with new asphalt, and upgraded with curb, gutter and new sidewalks in various locations. The project will improve traffic flow and reduce congestion in the area. Drivers should expect minor traffic delays due to lane restrictions.
  9. Bangerter Highway, 13400 South CFI Installation, Salt Lake County. Construction of a new continuous flow intersection (CFI) on Bangerter Highway at 13400 South will improve the flow of traffic in this fast-growing section of the Salt Lake Valley. Lane restrictions will occur throughout the project but will take place during non-commute and nighttime hours. Construction will be completed this year.
  10. I-215 Maintenance, S.R. 201 to North Temple, Salt Lake City. A heavily traveled section of I-215 will undergo concrete repair this summer for approximately two months with occasional lane and ramp closures. Work will take place during overnight and non-commute hours to minimize delays.

We are committed to continually looking for new opportunities to proactively communicate with the public about our projects. The following are available tools to plan ahead and stay informed about our projects:

  • “UDOT Traffic” App — The UDOT Traffic app delivers critical traffic information directly to drivers by incorporating the best and most up-to-date information from the UDOT Traffic Operations Center, including real-time traffic conditions, construction alerts, crash information and road weather conditions. The app now features TravelWise alerts, which provide us with a direct way to communicate with drivers at critical times. The alerts proactively communicate major traffic incidents, event traffic warnings, weather-related road conditions, construction and air quality information so drivers can plan ahead, reduce delays and arrive safely at their destinations. UDOT Traffic is free and available for download in the Apple App Store and Android Market for tablets and phones.
  • Interactive UDOT Traffic Website — The website features an interactive map identifying the locations of UDOT projects statewide. Additional information is provided for each project, including the construction schedule, expected travel delays and the project benefits. The website can be accessed from www.udot.utah.gov.
  • UDOT’s Twitter Account — Follow UDOT’s Twitter feed at twitter.com/UtahDOT to receive regular updates on road construction and traffic conditions.
  • 2013 Road Construction Guide – The guide is available for download and includes a list of the 10 most significant projects.

TWO MASSIVE ROAD PROJECTS OPEN

UDOT marked two significant milestones as it celebrated the completion of the largest road construction projects in Utah history on Saturday, December 15 with the opening of the Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion (I-15 CORE) and 15 miles of the Mountain View Corridor (MVC) in Salt Lake County.

“We have delivered the World Series and the Super Bowl all in one day,” said UDOT Executive Director John Njord.

Local leaders, including Governor Gary Herbert, House Speaker Becky Lockhart and Senator John Valentine, joined UDOT in cutting the banner on the record-breaking I-15 CORE project Saturday afternoon. More than 100 people braved the chilly December weather to join the festivities. Refreshments including hot chocolate, hot dogs and special I-15 CORE sugar cookies were available to say thank you to the public for their patience throughout construction.

I-15 CORE Ribbon Cutting

I-15 CORE Ribbon Cuttin

“Hear the noise. That’s the sound of progress,” Herbert said, as cars and trucks passed underneath the Sam White Bridge on I-15. “That’s the sound of commerce, that’s the sound of a state that’s really going in the right direction.”

Construction on I-15 CORE was finished in an unprecedented 35 months, making it the fastest billion-dollar public highway project ever built in the United States. The project came in $260 million under budget.

Saturday’s celebration was held on the Sam White Bridge in American Fork, the site of one of the project’s greatest achievements. In March 2011, UDOT moved the bridge — the longest two-span bridge to be moved by self-propelled modular transporters
(SPMTs) in the Western Hemisphere — into place over I-15 in one night.

“The technology to move the Sam White Bridge into place in hours instead of months is indicative of all the work that took place on this project” to complete it quickly and keep traffic moving, Njord said.

I-15 CORE reconstructed 24 miles of freeway from Lehi to Spanish Fork, with two additional freeway lanes in each direction.

Earlier that day, snow flurries didn’t deter over 200 runners who bundled up in their winter gear to attend the MVC opening celebration, which featured a 5K Polar Bear Fun Run to give members of the community an opportunity to enjoy the road before it opened to motorists.

“It looks like Christmas to me,” said Governor Herbert as he spoke to the chilly, but upbeat crowd.

MVC Opening 5K Polar Bear Fun Run

MVC Opening 5K Polar Bear Fun Run

Runners were entertained by music courtesy of the Copper Hills High School Marching Band, stayed warm with the help of hand warmers and MVC beanies and enjoyed holiday treats, hot cider and hot chocolate provided by the project’s contractors.

Representative Wayne Harper and West Jordan Mayor Melissa Johnson also addressed the audience and thanked UDOT for their continued innovation and partnership in developing this vital roadway.

The current phase of MVC is 15 miles long and features two lanes built in each direction from Redwood Road (at approximately 16000 South) to 5400 South, with signalized intersections where future interchanges will be located.

To meet projected transportation demands in the year 2030, future construction will build out the remainder of the corridor by adding interchanges and inside lanes to achieve a fully functional freeway that will connect with I-80 in Salt Lake County and I-15
in Lehi.

Construction funds have been identified to extend MVC from 5400 South to 4100 South in the next few years.

The roadway also features 15 miles of trails adjacent to the corridor, 9 miles of paved bike lanes and UDOT’s first radar activated bike turn signal.

“The vision for the Mountain View Corridor came from the communities in Western Salt Lake County,” said Project Director Teri Newell. “UDOT is proud to make this vision a reality and provide these communities with a new transportation solution.”

MVC provides increased mobility, but will require motorists to adjust their driving patterns and learn how to navigate a new one-way roadway, as this initial phase is similar to a divided highway with one-way northbound and southbound roadways. Signs
are posted along the corridor and at each intersection to help motorists adjust to the new traffic patterns. UDOT has also produced a navigational video to teach motorists how to drive on the new roadway.

Governor Herbert touted the success of both the I-15 CORE and MVC projects, highlighting their importance state. “This is about economic development. If you want a state to thrive economically, you’ve got to have a transportation system that works,” said Herbert.

You can find out more on the I-15 CORE Infographic and the project website, www.udot.utah.gov/i15core. Additional details about the MVC project are available on the MVC Infographic or by logging on to www.udot.utah.gov/mountainview.

This is a guest post by Mary Rice of the Mountain View Corridor Project Team.

MOVE IT ON OVER

Using movable barrier in an urban construction zone helped UDOT improve safety and mobility while limiting the duration of construction.

UDOT’s pioneering use of movable barrier on an urban construction project will help UDOT and other departments of transportation employ the effective safety and mobility strategy on projects with similar characteristics.

UDOT recently used moveable concrete barrier – a system that varies directional lane use – during reconstruction of 3500 South between 2700 West and Bangerter Highway in West Valley City. The busy roadway serves a business district and is a key east-west arterial, and movable barrier was used to provide more lanes for commuters during peak travel times.

Having it all – improved safety, better traffic flow and faster construction

The project widened the thoroughfare from two to three lanes in each direction and added two center-dedicated lanes for the Utah Transit Authority’s first Bus Rapid Transit MAX route. While using moveable barrier is common on freeway construction projects – UDOT used a moveable barrier during reconstruction of I-80 through Salt Lake City – urban arterial use is less common.

During the 3500 South project, researcher Douglas Anderson, P.E. of T.Y. Lin International, documented barrier use, collected data and compiled the findings in a study for UDOT. Anderson formerly worked for UDOT as an Engineer for Research and Development and an Engineer for Planning. He has extensive experience evaluating and implementing new technology.

Anderson is pleased to report that using the barrier system improved safety, helped ease traffic flow and supported a faster construction schedule. The method Anderson used to collect and analyze data also provides a pattern for project managers to use when deciding if using moveable barrier is appropriate for other projects.

Project onset

Initially, the project maintenance of traffic plan called for two travel lanes in each direction. Work zone safety and work progression issues prompted UDOT Region Two Director Randy Park and the contractor, Granite Construction, to consider using moveable barrier. Adding the movable barrier meant the construction zone could be expanded by an entire lane width. Once the barrier system was put into operation, workers were provided additional separation from traffic and the construction schedule was accelerated.

Reducing crashes

Anderson used UDOT’s Traffic and Safety database to find crash information specific to the corridor. Prior to reconstruction, between 250 to 260 crashes occurred per year. Forty to 50 of these crashes resulted in an injury to the driver or a passenger. About 80 to 90 left-turn crashes were reported in the corridor per year. Left-turn crashes are more likely to result in injuries than side-swipe or rear-end crashes, which generally lead to property damage only.

The barrier improved safety by eliminating left turns, except at major intersections, resulting in fewer crashes.  Data shows that about 20 to 25 left-turn crashes were eliminated during the time the moveable barrier was in operation. A conservative estimate shows that using the moveable barrier saved road users between $1.7 to 2.4 million by reducing crashes during construction.

Improving traffic flow

The "zipper" provided two lanes in the peak direction during the morning and eventing commute.

The barrier system was used to separate east-bound and west-bound travel lanes, and was moved daily to allow two lanes in the peak direction and one lane in the non-peak direction to safely accommodate the morning and evening commute. While traffic congestion was not improved during construction, using the moveable barrier allowed the traffic to be managed more effectively, explains Anderson. 

Speeding up construction

Reducing the duration of projects is one of the most important ways UDOT limits the inconvenience of construction on road users. Without the use of movable barrier the contractor would have needed to maintain two lanes to two in each direction. Using the moveable barrier provided a larger construction zone which was safer for workers. The enlarged space meant construction could progress more efficiently.

Construction was started in November of 2008 and was scheduled for completion during summer of 2010. Partly as a result of the barrier, the project was completed 7 months ahead of schedule, leaving road users and businesses with a wider, high functioning roadway free of excessive delay.

Award-winning results

The Federal Highway Administration and the Roadway Safety Foundation has recognized UDOT as a winner of the 2011 National Roadway Safety Award for using moveable barrier on the 3500 South reconstruction project. The annual award program honors “high achievers in the field of roadway safety” for using and documenting safety best-practices.

“The movable barrier allowed the contractor to strike a balance between traffic and construction needs,” reads Anderson’s final report. UDOT.  Moveable barrier can be “very effective when used on a surface street,” explains Anderson, when high traffic volume, many turning movements and a directional traffic split are characteristics of the roadway. UDOT’s pioneering use of the innovative technology on an urban travel corridor will help UDOT and other departments of transportation employ the effective safety and construction mobility strategy on projects with similar characteristics.

PROJECT DETAILS

Owner: UDOT

Location: 3500 South (State Route 171) from Mile point 5.8 to 7.4.

Report Authors: Doug Anderson, P.E., T.Y. Lin, David Eixenberger, P.E., T.Y. Lin, Ken Berg, P.E. UDOT

Prime Contractor: Granite Construction, Salt Lake City, Utah

Barrier Vendor: Barrier Systems of Vacaville, California

Read the report

Read an article: Seamless Traffic Diversion

HIGH FIBER

Added fiber may help make asphalt pavement more durable.

 

UDOT hopes a new product will extend the life of asphalt pavement. This photo shows an area where flexible and conventional microsurfacing is being tested side by side.

 

UDOT roads are built to last. “UDOT typically designs our asphalt pavements for a 20 year design life, meaning they have the structural thickness to support 20 years worth of traffic,” says Gary Kuhl, UDOT’s Statewide Pavement Management Engineer.  Once built, preservation keeps the road surface in good shape so pavement can reach or extend beyond that 20 year life.

UDOT is testing a new preservation treatment called flexible microsurfacing. Conventional microsurfacing is a thin asphalt “wearing course” that contains aggregate, emulsion and binder (usually cement) that is mixed on-site and applied to the road.

The new product has an additional ingredient – a strong, flexible type of fiber – that is intended to help the asphalt reduce cracking and resist damage from traffic and snow plows. Flexible microsurfacing uses a regular microsurfacing machine and a blower to add fibers to the conventional mix.

Fiber adds durability to conventional microsurfacing.

The two products were placed side by side on a busy arterial road in Davis County. After a two year evaluation, the flexible microsurfacing “shows little to no damage from snowplow activities and no raveling,” states a report on the test. Raveling happens when binder fails and rocks and asphalt chunks break loose. The conventional microsurfacing side shows reflective cracking (cracks from the bottom up) that stops where the flexible microsurfacing starts.

Scott Nussbaum, Materials Engineer for UDOT Region One, thinks “the initial performance is positive.” But its use is “still experimental” continues Nussbaum. UDOT will need to continue to study this product and develop specifications for its use.

UDOT engineers believe that the additive increases the toughness and durability over conventional microsurfacing to help reduce or delay cracking and resist raveling and snowplow damage. Kuhl is optimistic about the new product. “For a small extra cost we expect to get a stronger surface that will have less cracking.  UDOT continues to test new ideas and will be monitoring how this one performs.”

For more information:

  • Read a report on the test
  • Read about how good roads cost less in UDOT’s Strategic Direction Performance Review and Measures
  • More from Gary Kuhl: “UDOT found out a long time ago that ‘Good Roads Cost Less,’ so our approach has been to try and keep our pavements in good condition by strategically utilizing lower cost preservation treatments on a regular basis.  Combined with a mix of rehabilitative overlays this has had the effect of extending the pavement life indefinitely. For the most part our reconstruction work is primarily due for widening and capacity needs, and rarely due to pavement failure needs.”