Category: utah department of transportation

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.

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.”