UDOT’s Traffic Operations Center will time traffic signals to keep traffic moving during packed holiday weekend
SALT LAKE CITY (Dec. 8, 2016) – The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) advises drivers to plan ahead for heavy holiday traffic this Saturday, Dec. 10, in downtown Salt Lake City, with several events scheduled that evening. Heaviest delays are expected between 6:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., so drivers should plan to arrive downtown before 6:15 p.m.
Events scheduled include performances of White Christmas at the Eccles Theater; the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas Concert; and a Utah Jazz basketball game, Cirque Musica Holiday Spectacular at Abravanel Hall, in addition to downtown Christmas light displays and holiday shopping.
The special events team at the UDOT Traffic Operations Center plans several weeks in advance for events like this. Traffic engineers will also be monitoring signals on several main roads near downtown Salt Lake City, including State Street, 300 West, North Temple, South Temple, 400 South, and others, to assist drivers traveling to and from these events.
UDOT also advises drivers to plan extra time for parking, as some parking garages will be full or nearly full. Suggested alternatives include riding UTA TRAX into downtown, or parking within the downtown free-fare zone and taking TRAX from the parking lot to the event venue.
For the latest information on traffic conditions, visit the UDOT Traffic website (udottraffic.utah.gov) or download the UDOT Traffic app for iPhone or Android. Drivers can also follow UDOT on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Major projects will widen freeways, maintain highways and build new roads to keep Utah moving
Today we announced our Top 10 Projects list for the 2016 construction season. At the top of the list is the $105 million reconstruction of I-215 in western Salt Lake County, which is scheduled to begin in May and to be completed late next year.
More than 150 projects are scheduled this season statewide to improve mobility now and in the future. These construction projects are designed to enhance safety for drivers and pedestrians, improve the flow of traffic and keep Utah’s roads in good condition.
Three projects in this year’s Top 10 are in western Salt Lake County, an area that has seen tremendous population growth. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, three western Salt Lake County cities are among the fastest growing municipalities in the state (South Jordan, West Jordan and Herriman).
The following are UDOT’s Top 10 Projects for 2016:
#1 I-215—300 East to S.R. 201, $105 million(Construction starts May 2016; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT’s top project this season will reconstruct the I-215 west belt with new concrete pavement from S.R. 201 to 4700 South. Crews will repave the westbound lanes with new asphalt from 300 East to Redwood Road. In addition, this project will widen the freeway to add auxiliary lanes from S.R. 201 to 4700 South, and will reconstruct the two bridges over S.R. 201. All four lanes will remain open in the peak travel direction during commute hours, but motorists should plan for delays and consider alternate routes such as Bangerter Highway and I-15.
#2 I-15—The Point Project, $252 million(Construction continues from last season; scheduled completion this fall)
Crews continue widening the freeway and placing new concrete pavement on I-15 from 12300 South to S.R. 92. Major construction this season will happen primarily between 12300 South and Bangerter Highway, with finish work taking place at the southern end of the project area from Bangerter Highway to S.R. 92.
#3 Mountain View Corridor—5400 South to 4100 South, $180 million (Construction started in March; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT is extending Mountain View Corridor farther north to 4100 South. This new construction will include two lanes in each direction, separated by a wide median (similar to the current open segment of Mountain View Corridor).
#4 I-15—Farr West to Brigham City, $52 million (Construction started in March; scheduled completion this fall)
Crews are widening a 13-mile section of I-15 to add a lane in each direction from 2700 North in Farr West to U.S. 91 in Brigham City. Most work is taking place in the freeway median, and traffic delays are expected to be minimal. This widening will improve traffic flow in the area.
#5 Bangerter Highway—600 West Interchange, $48 million(Construction starts this month; scheduled completion spring 2017)
UDOT is constructing a new freeway-style interchange on Bangerter Highway at approximately 600 West. This new interchange will enhance safety and reduce traffic congestion in the area near Bangerter Highway and I-15. UDOT is in the middle of a multi-year process to upgrade Bangerter Highway by replacing many of its existing intersections with interchanges, which will improve traffic flow.
#6 I-15—Hill Field Road Interchange and TTI, $28 million(Construction continues from last year; scheduled completion summer 2016)
UDOT is reconstructing the I-15 interchange at Hill Field Road, converting it to a single-point urban interchange to improve traffic flow and reduce delays in Layton. Last season, UDOT constructed new ThrU Turn Intersections on Hill Field Road on each side of I-15.
#7 I-15—St. George Blvd. to Green Springs Drive, $24 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion late 2016)
Crews are adding two lanes in each direction to I-15 in St. George and building new underpasses to connect Red Cliffs Drive with Red Hills Parkway near Mall Drive. These new lanes will help meet the needs of the growing population in the St. George area, and make it easier for drivers to enter and exit I-15.
#8 I-15—Riverdale to Farr West, $14 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion fall 2017)
UDOT is repaving I-15 in Weber County from the I-84 junction to 2700 North in Farr West. This new pavement will prolong the life of the freeway and provide a smoother ride for drivers.
#9 U.S. 189—Deer Creek Widening, $13 million(Construction starts this month; scheduled completion summer 2016)
Crews are widening a six-mile segment of U.S. 189 near Deer Creek Reservoir to two lanes in each direction, plus a center turn lane. Currently, U.S. 189 consists of one travel lane in each direction in this area. Adding these lanes will reduce congestion and enhance safety, specifically for recreational travelers.
#10 U.S. 6—Repaving near I-70, $6 million(Construction starts this summer; scheduled completion this fall)
UDOT is repaving a 10-mile section of U.S. 6 near the I-70 junction to improve the road condition for drivers and extend the life of the road surface.
Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. For the latest information on traffic restrictions during construction, visit udottraffic.utah.gov or download the UDOT Traffic app for iPhone or Android. Drivers can also follow UDOT on social media including Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
LAYTON — With Layton Improved construction resuming after a brief winter hiatus, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) is advising motorists to be aware of traffic pattern changes in Layton around I-15 and the Hill Field Road interchange beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016.
The Hill Field Road project will move forward with the demolition of existing interchange bridges and construction of a new single-point urban interchange (SPUI). Workers will also finalize improvements to Hill Field Road. Crews will be working 24 hours a day, six days a week, to finish the project as quickly, efficiently, and as safely as possible while maintaining traffic movement through the area. All traffic lanes will remain open on I-15, and speed limits will not be reduced through the construction zone. Please stay alert and use caution as you drive through the area.
Beginning Wednesday, construction crews will shift I-15 traffic in the area onto a detour bridge on the west side of the interstate. Southbound traffic will shift onto the detour bridge on Wednesday morning, Feb. 17. Northbound traffic will make the shift on Thursday morning, Feb. 18. The traffic shift will be in place in both directions through mid-April.
Left turns on the off-ramps will be closed from now through July 2016, so motorists will need to follow the detour signs to turn right and travel through the ThrU Turns.
Trucking companies that normally use Hill Field Road to access businesses west of Layton should plan to use the Layton Parkway Interchange (Exit 330) or Antelope Drive (Exit 332) to access those businesses and industries through July.
Following the traffic shift, the section of Hill Field Road underneath I-15 will be closed on the evenings of Feb 20-21 so crews can demolish both bridges. It is suggested that motorists pay particular attention to signage that day for detour routes. The new SPUI bridges are being constructed offsite and will be moved into place through UDOT’s innovative accelerated bridge construction process. The northbound part of the bridge will slide into place in early March, and traffic will switch onto the northbound bridge in mid-April. Crews will then complete the southbound bridge and will slide it into place in April.
A single-point urban interchange (SPUI) that will merge traffic at the off-ramps, controlled by one traffic signal.
Since the completion of the ThrU Turns, traffic flow has improved and delays reduced in the area. UDOT and Layton City are working together to tailor solutions that meet the city’s unique traffic challenges, and we’re excited to see the full project benefits realized when all the improvements are completed in fall 2016.
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.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Utah Department of Transportation is known for exciting innovations such as accelerated bridge construction and advanced intersection designs. But innovation doesn’t have to be flashy to be valuable.
GIS Manager Becky Hjelm speaks after winning the 2014 Vanguard Award at the AASHTO Annual Conference in Charlotte.
Becky Hjelm, GIS Manager at the Utah Department of Transportation, has been integral to some of UDOT’s recent innovations through data-driven projects aimed to Keep Utah Moving.
For her efforts, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is honoring Hjelm as its 2014 Transportation Vanguard Award winner.
The national award is given by AASHTO to recognize an individual aged 40 or younger who is leading the way in doing extraordinary things in the field of transportation by “exemplifying a commitment to excellence and implementation of innovative technologies and processes.” It was created in honor of Jim McMinimee, a UDOT leader who passed away in 2012.
Hjelm, who has been at UDOT for just under three years, has proven herself to be a visionary, with the ability to build effective teams and work strategically to accomplish more than thought possible. She does it by using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) along with her attention to detail, outreach and collaboration talents.
“Through her leadership, UDOT has embraced GIS,” said Randy Park, UDOT’s Director of Development. “The way we do business is changing rapidly, and the increased reliance on data is making us more efficient.”
Hjelm has been part of a big culture change at UDOT, through her contagious excitement about the technology. During her short time at the department, she’s identified and implemented many projects and opportunities, including geo-referencing CAD files, creating an Outdoor Advertising Control Map, implementing ProjectWise layers statewide, and establishing a new Emergency Management Tool.
Becky Hjelm (center, in vest) poses with her UDOT GIS team.
Some of her most valuable work has been her work on an asset management data project. UDOT had already asked Mandli Communications to perform LIDAR scanning, which allows engineers and scientists to examine natural and built environments across a wide range of scales with greater accuracy, precision and flexibility. The state has scans of every state route, which includes pavement and other asset data. Using that large amount of data would prove to be difficult without using GIS. So Hjelm organized a cross-departmental team to accomplish the task of building the tool in a timely manner, saving countless hours and hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars.
Park said UDOT expects the culture change and innovation to continue to benefit the State of Utah for years to come.
“There isn’t just one innovative idea that Becky has implemented. She’s put in place an entire program that continues to grow,” he said.
Next week (March 17th-21st) state employees are encouraged to use public transportation to travel to and from work. This ‘Ride Public Transportation to Work Week’ represents a concerted effort by the state to increase transit ridership as a means of improving air quality and reducing congestion.
By participating in this effort, employees have an opportunity to lead by example in using our innovative, accessible and efficient public transportation system to make Utah an even better place to live and work.
Representatives from UDOT’s TravelWise program and the Utah Transit Authority will be available at the North Temple and Salt Lake Central TRAX Stations on Monday, March 17th and Wednesday, March 19th from 7:00-9:00am to answer questions and distribute materials for participating employees.
In addition to public transportation, employees have been asked to use a combination of proven strategies that promote alternatives to driving alone. The UDOT TravelWise program strategies are aimed at optimizing mobility, reducing energy consumption and improving air quality. They include:
Carpooling and vanpooling
Taking public transit
Active transportation (walking or biking)
Teleworking (conference calling, video conferencing or working from an off-site location)
Skip the trip (planning ahead to bring a lunch or grocery shop once each week rather than a few times for a few items)
Alternative and flexible work schedules
Many Utahn’s are already using TravelWise strategies such as trip chaining, they just don’t realize it. Research has shown that 87 percent of Utahns support a program that promotes these kinds of strategies. State employees can be part of the solution by incorporating these strategies into our daily lives.
For more information about TravelWise, visit travelwise.utah.gov and for more information about the Utah Transit Authority’s services, visit rideuta.com.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to all of Utah’s weather, traffic information, major construction and road delays? Fortunately the Utah Department of Transportation has made this possible through a smart phone application called “UDOT Traffic”.
The traffic app has several different features which include a detailed map, alerts, road weather and mountain pass information. All of this data comes from the UDOT Traffic Operations Center (TOC) which provides 24/7 monitoring for roads around the state.
Here is a step by step tutorial of how to utilize the app’s features and information.
The map contains several different options that include: cameras, incidents/planned events, construction, overhead freeway signs otherwise know as Variable Message Signs (VMS) and traffic congestion. With your smart phone you can zoom to common locations, search a certain address or use your current location.
Areas of Utah can be selected based on common locations and searched as well.
Specific symbols can be selected or deselected to change what is visible on your map.
This map of Utah contains symbols representing cameras, construction sites, alerts, and VMS.
Here is a map with all the construction sites listed in Utah. By selecting a specific barrel, details can be found about the place, duration and lane closure information.
This is a camera view from U.S. 6 but other highways are available on the UDOT Traffic map. Camera images are updated regularly and include a time stamp so you know how recent the image is.
VMS can also be viewed from the app. These show current travel times between the sign and certain locations.
Alerts are the second feature available from the main menu across the bottom and contain advice and warning information regarding emergencies, TravelWise, road conditions, incidents, special events, construction and seasonal roads.
Details on each alert can be accessed from a list or viewed on the map.
This is an example of an incident alert on the map. It contains information on the location, nature of the incident and impact.
The third main feature of the app is all about weather. This section contains travel advisories, available during the winter months, as well as road forecasts and reports directly from our weather stations. Road forecasts and weather station data are available all year.
Travel advisories, weather stations and road forecasts are available in the Weather section of UDOT Traffic App.
Road Forecasts are created by TOC meteorologists and have details broken down in 3 hours increments up to 24 hours in advance.
The Weather Stations option displays graphs and data directly from RWIS around the state. This includes temperature, wind, dew point, etc.
The final portion of the app includes Mountain Passes. Mountain Passes are often impacted first by incoming weather. To help travelers understand what they will encounter in these areas we have consolidated them into one part of the app.
A list of all the mountain passes in Utah are available in this section of the app.
Once a mountain pass is selected information specific to that area, including cameras and weather forecasts, are available.
Starting today a new emergency alert system is in place to notify drivers of major traffic delays and road closures.
UDOT will issue the first TravelWise alert this morning in advance of the Salt Lake City Marathon. TravelWise alerts push critical traffic information directly to the public via the UDOT Traffic app, freeway message boards and social media.
With these new alerts, UDOT can directly communicate with drivers at critical times, including major traffic incidents, event traffic warnings, weather-related road conditions, construction and air quality information. Now drivers will be better able to plan ahead, reduce delays and arrive safely at their destinations.
Generated by the UDOT Traffic Operations Center, TravelWise alerts will only be issued for incidents deemed “critical,” such as crashes causing multiple lane closures, severe delays due to heavy event traffic or construction, low air quality days and significant storms.
The alerts will give drivers information to avoid delays, such as alternate routes in the event of a traffic incident or suggested times to leave home or work to avoid a major storm in the middle of the commute.
“UDOT is committed to continually using innovative ways to keep traffic moving,” Acting UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said. “This new tool will help the department quickly provide critical traffic information directly to drivers and will help UDOT work in providing information as effectively as possible.”
For Saturday’s marathon, UDOT is warning drivers to plan for delays from local road closures and heavy congestion from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Areas to avoid include 500 East, Van Winkle Expressway, Holladay Boulevard and Sugar House Park. For complete information, including road closure times and to review the route map, visit http://bit.ly/13l3Unw.
The best way to receive these new alerts is by downloading or updating the UDOT Traffic app for your smartphone or tablet. Alerts will also be distributed on freeway message boards, Twitter (@UtahDOT), and the UDOT Traffic website, udottraffic.utah.gov.
This is a guest post written by the TravelWise team.
Utah’s air quality has been a topic of much conversation during this past winter inversion season. While the winter inversions are over, Utah continues to face air quality challenges. In an effort to meet those challenges, on Feb. 12, Governor Gary Herbert sent a memo to state agencies directing them to establish a “meaningful and measurable” Trip Reduction Implementation Plan (TRIP) through UDOT’s TravelWise program.
UDOT set the example by establishing its own TRIP, identifying ways its employees will reduce their weekly trips. UDOT set its trip reduction goal at 15 percent, which will be accomplished through a combination of telecommuting, teleworking, vanpooling/carpooling, taking public transit, using flexible work schedules and walking or bicycling to work. Each of the four Regions, as well as the Traffic Operations Center and the Complex has identified areas of improvement and has committed to helping UDOT meet the TravelWise TRIP goal.
UDOT’s TravelWise team is now working with other State agencies, using UDOT’s TRIP as a model. To learn more about UDOT’s TravelWise program or to view UDOT’s TRIP, visit travelwise.utah.gov.
TravelWise during freeway re-construction in Utah County
While workers busily reconstruct I-15 in Utah County, commuters can choose TravelWise strategies to make travel more convenient. These workers are installing concrete. See another post about 40-year pavement in an earlier post: https://blog.udot.utah.gov/2011/01/first-design-to-last/
Choices can make all the difference — leaving for work earlier, car pooling or tele-working can help commuters avoid traffic delay and get around more efficiently during road construction. UDOT has promoted TravelWise strategies to individuals and businesses for years. Now messages about those helpful strategies are being integrated into the biggest construction project in the state- the I- 15 CORE project in Utah County.
Traffic on I-15 in Utah County--taking public transportation can be a cost-saving and convenient travel option.
I-15 CORE Project Team members have emphasized these TravelWise strategies since the beginning of construction of the project by posting information on construction website and presenting information to employers close to the construction corridor.
“TravelWise strategies have been a key component of our communication plans for the I-15 CORE project from the very beginning, says Scott Thompson, Public Involvement Manager in UDOT Region Three. “We understand that strategies such as carpooling, tele-commuting, trip chaining and flexible work schedules are vital in helping us reduce traffic during this construction project.”
Here are some great strategies for businesses that be used to implement a TravelWise construction plan to help employees:
Identify a TravelWise coordinator or implementation task force to oversee the program.
Conduct a participant survey (provided by the TravelWise team) to determine interest.
Promote your TravelWise program through newsletters, emails, on a website, etc.
Track participation and effectiveness of the program and make any necessary adjustments.
Road users who adopt TravelWise strategies can see many benefits including enjoying a less stress-free commute or a more economical use of time when running errands. UDOT encourages all drivers to take a lot a look at the TravelWise website and incorporate helpful strategies into travel plans.
When more people use TravelWise strategies, cumulative benefits can help everyone, since travel delay can be reduced. “We continue to promote TravelWise messages in everything we do and believe they have been beneficial in helping us reduce congestion in Utah County,” says Thompson.
Contact the I5-CORE team with any questions or concerns along the way.