Category: UDOT

Nightly I-15 closure canceled after UDOT finishes project early

LAYTON, Utah — A stretch of freeway in Layton will no longer close Sunday night as planned.

Interstate 15 was scheduled to close between Layton Parkway and Antelope Drive for a third night this weekend as the Utah Department of Transportation demolished a bridge, but that closure has been called off.

The demolition and cleanup of the Church Street Bridge have been completed, UDOT announced Sunday evening.

Crews were demolishing the bridge to make room for an express lane expansion in the area. When complete, the 80-mile stretch will be the longest continuous express lane in the country.

Additional information on the overall project can be found on UDOT’s website.

UDOT warns of heavy weekend delays in SLC and other areas

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Department of Transportation wants drivers to be aware of construction-related lane closures that are expected to lead to heavy delays in parts of Salt Lake, Davis and Utah counties.

Salt Lake City

Crews will reduce northbound I-15 to two lanes near 800 S as work continues on repairing and replacing concrete in the area. The lane closures on I-15 will be in place beginning Saturday night at 9 p.m. until Monday at 5 a.m. The on-ramp from 1300 S to northbound I-15 will also be closed. Drivers should plan for delays of 30 minutes or longer on Sunday.

“Express Lane restrictions on northbound I-15 will be suspended in this area to help traffic flow more smoothly,” a news release from UDOT said.

Bridge joint repairs will also force lane restrictions on westbound I-80 between 1300 E and State St. Westbound I-80 will be reduced to two lanes on weekends, and to a single lane seven nights a week after 9 p.m.

The bridge joint repairs are part of UDOT’s top 10 projects for 2019 and is scheduled to continue until through early fall.

North Salt Lake

The Redwood Rd. bridge over I-215 will be closed, and I-215 will be reduced to a single lane in each direction from 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will be converting the existing interchange to a “diverging diamond” interchange to improve traffic flow and reduce delays. That project is expected to be completed later in the summer.

Payson

Southbound I-15 will be reduced to one lane at the Benjamin 8000 S exit (exit 253) from Friday at 8 p.m. until Saturday at 6 a.m. Two lanes of southbound I-15 will be open from Saturday morning until Wednesday at 6 a.m. The closures will allow crews to work on bridge maintenance.

Construction schedules are weather-dependent and subject to change. Visit udottraffic.utah.gov, use the UDOT smartphone apps and follow UDOT on social media for the latest updates.

The future of transportation: more drones, and maybe even hoverbikes

PARK CITY, Utah — Transportation executives from all over the country are meeting in Park City this week for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials conference.

At the conference, officials will study the future of drone technology.

Dozens of transportation departments around the country are now using drones to save lives, time and money, and this conference is only going to help improve and expand the use of drones.

Monday at Sundial and the Canyons Resort, drones were being tested, including a hoverbike.

“They’re already built, they’re already test flying. It’s not a concept, it’s not a drawing on a computer, they’re operating,” said Jared Esselman, the Director of Aeronautics for the state of Utah.

Esselman says they’re working on infrastructure to allow the bikes to operate in our airspace, and in five to seven years, hoverbikes will be a reality.

“A drone will be able to pick us up, take us to work, or to lunch, or the park, or wherever you want to go,” Esselman said.

While hoverbikes may be the coolest thing at the transportation summit,  they’re not the only mode of transportation officials are studying. They’re also looking at ways to keep road crews safe during bridge inspections.

“One of those dangerous, dirty adult jobs is bridge inspections — getting underneath the bridge,” Esselman said. “Instead of having to have a crane hoist a person under a bridge, we can actually fly that with a drone. And with some of our drones, we can get very very detailed image captures of everything, down to a nut and bolt.”

Road crews can also use drones to predict landslides, help with avalanche control and clean up accidents in a timely manner.

The Utah Department of Transportation is already putting drones on their incident management trucks. This allows the drone to take pictures of a scene in 10 minutes, whereas it would normally take crews an hour to do by hand.

“It allows them to plug in coordinates to a drone, hit ‘go,’ that drone will fly a double grid pattern, and while it’s doing it they can be hands-on, on the ground, moving the accident to the side,” Esselman said.

Much of this drone technology is already in place today, but Esselman said we can expect to see so much more in the future.

The transportation summit is going on through Thursday.

Snow keeping Utah scenic routes closed

PARK CITY, Utah – Several scenic routes in northern Utah will stay closed through Memorial Day weekend, because the Utah Department of Transportation said there’s still too much snow and not enough spring runoff.

Incoming storms this weekend are expected to add more snow to the mountains, contributing to the extended closures.

Even though the roads are clear at the Alpine Loop roadblock gates in American Fork Canyon, there’s snow further up that UDOT has yet to plow.

People are beginning to head into the canyon for spring activities, but they have to turn around at the gate. Many drove up to Tibble Fork Reservoir Wednesday evening near the loop, for family pictures, a hike, to set up hammocks or stand-up paddleboard.

Friends Lauren Nelson, Jade Joseph and Emma Robbins donned bathing suits and took turns cruising around on two stand-up paddle boards.

At one point, they stopped for pictures.

“Try not to fall in!” Jade said, as she snapped a photo of Emma and Lauren.

Others simply sat and took in the view.

“It smells so good,” said Kayla Anderson, taking in a breath of fresh air. “Yeah it does!” echoed her younger sister Krystal.

They sat on the dock with their other sister Kaydrie, splashing their feet in the water.

“It’s really nice up here,” Kayla said.

“And freezing!” Krystal exclaimed. “My feet are falling off,” Kayla said.

They acknowledged that it’s definitely still chilly up there – and the further up you go, the colder and snowier it gets.

UDOT said they decided Monday to push back plowing in the Alpine Loop, because of snow and spring runoff.

Spokesperson John Gleason said plows won’t clear the Alpine Loop, Guardsman Pass, Mirror Lake Highway or Monte Cristo before Memorial Day.

The snow is deep and Gleason said they need to see more runoff in those areas, as well as wait until the runoff reaches a lower level.

He said safety is the primary concern in deciding when they can start plowing. Gleason said the National Forest Service will figure out when campgrounds can open.

All other areas in Utah County and south should be plowed on schedule and open before Memorial Day. He said they will start plowing those roads beginning next week.

They don’t have any tentative opening dates or plow dates for Alpine Loop, Guardsman Pass, Mirror Lake Highway or Monte Cristo. It could be possible those areas will open early June, Gleason indicated.

While they wait on Mother Nature, those who headed up to Tibble Fork Wednesday are not waiting.

“That is freezing cold” Kaydrie shrieked, as she submerged her feet in the water.

“It’s not to the point where you can get used to it yet,” Kayla said.

Even if the water is still cold, this is one of Kayla’s last chances to visit the area for a while.

“I’m actually leaving on a mission,” she said. “So we are trying to get all the canyon time we can get.”

Utah is preparing for a world of flying cars and delivery drones

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature is being told to prepare for a world of flying cars, delivery drones and “urban air mobility.”

At a meeting Wednesday of the legislature’s Transportation Interim Committee, the Utah Department of Transportation warned lawmakers that flying vehicles were going to be here sooner than anyone expected. In fact, they’re already being tested in other places. Delivery drones are becoming more commonplace and large-weight bearing drones (about 500 lbs.) will be in use by 2021.

UDOT’s Jason Davis said lawmakers need to prepare for it by addressing concerns about flight corridors, altitudes, airspace restrictions and other issues.

“Who’s going to own that airspace? There are companies already approaching the FAA to say, ‘We’d like to have the 600-700 foot area as our own place to operate in.’ With their being no regulations yet, it’s a real discussion taking place. How’s that going to be established?” he said.

Lawmakers did have concerns about who controls the airspace — the federal government or the state? The Transportation Committee took no action but is expected to get further briefings in the coming months.

The legislature has previously passed bills to allow for some access for delivery robots in Utah on sidewalks.

New warning signs have radar to alert drivers when wildlife is nearby

EAGLE MOUNTAIN, Utah — The Utah Department of Transportation is trying to prevent drivers from collisions with wildlife by connecting the usual yellow warning signs to a new radar system.

The new signs on S.R. 73 in Eagle Mountain are equipped with radar that can detect deer and other wild animals, and the LED lights flash to alert drivers to use extra caution.

These signs are the first of their kind in the state, but depending on how they work, they could potentially be placed in other areas.

“It’s a relatively low investment, and the payoff could be great,” said John Gleason of UDOT.

The signs were placed in the area because there have been nearly 100 deer-related collisions there in the past four years.

“These type of crashes that involve wildlife can be devastating to the families and the drivers that are in their cars and it can cause people the swerve and crash,” Gleason said.

Leslie Beck, UDOT’s Saratoga Springs maintenance station supervisor, came up with the idea.

“I like to come out and look at the deer, and I don’t like to see them hit on the road,” Beck said. “To see the traveling public go through it without any problems, it’s pretty exciting for us.”