Work Zone Mobility and Safety Program
Photo collage: temporary lane closure, road marking installation, cone with mounted warning light, and drum separated work zones.
Office of Operations 21st Century Operations Using 21st Century Technologies

Text from 'Mitigating Traffic Impacts on Utah's I-15' PowerPoint Presentation

Slide 1

Mitigating Traffic Impacts on Utah's I-15

Making Work Zones Work Better Workshop

John Leonard, PE

Utah Department of Transportation

Photo of Utah landscape

Slide 2

Utah - Crossroads of the West

Graphic: A map highlighting Salt Lake City, Utah and all of the major highways that run through it including: I-80 that runs east to west, I-15 that runs north to south and I-84 that runs northwest to Seatle and Portland.

Slide 3

Aerial photo of I-15 with the project limits indicated as 10800 South and 600 North

Slide 4

Project Scope

  • 17 miles of Interstate Highway
  • Utah's First Car Pool Lanes
  • 8 Major Interchanges Reconstructed
  • 3 Freeway to Freeway Junctions Rebuilt
  • 144 Bridges Replaced
  • 9 Million Cubic Yards of Embankment
  • 3.4 Million Square Yards of Pavement
  • Program Cost $1.59 Billion

Slide 5

Social and Traffic Trends

Slide 6

Utah's Urban Population, Employment and Interstate Vehicle Miles of travel

Line graph: As the population has grown steadily in Utah from 1980-1995, there has been a similar growth in employment. Vehicle miles of travel on the interstate has tripled within the last fifteen years due to the increased population/employment.

Slide 7


  • Early Public Perception
    • Freeway is working OK—why do we need to rebuild?
    • No public will to endure major construction
    • No public desire to fund major project
    • "We will take care of it when it gets bad"

Slide 8


  • By 1994, public begins to believe freeway needs to be rebuilt
    • Congestion and travel times increasing
    • Major deterioration visible
  • 1995, UDOT created a team to lead the Project and move it to completion
    • Project Director
    • Financial Manager
    • Structures
    • Design
    • MOT/Operations
    • Staff Support

Slide 9


  • FEIS process
    • Formal public meetings
    • Open houses
    • Community Councils
    • Citizens groups
    • NEPA process
  • Over 130 separate meetings

Slide 10

Conclusion of Research (1995)

The public would prefer a greater level of impact in exchange for a shorter construction duration

Slide 11


"Get in, Get it Done, And Get out!!"

Slide 12


  • Original concept was traditional construction
    • Design-Bid-Build
      • 8-10 year duration
  • Investigated different and innovative design and construction strategies
    • Design/Build was chosen in January '96
    • Construct project in 4 ½ years

Slide 13

Maintenance of Traffic

Photo of traffic on Utah Interstate

Slide 14

Maintenance of Traffic

  • Large impact to traffic patterns
  • We need to take a different approach to managing traffic during construction

Slide 15

Maintenance of Traffic

  • The UDOT I-15 Team Approach
    • UDOT
    • Contractor
    • DAQ
    • Local Communities
    • Emergency Services
    • Public!!!!

Slide 16

Team Approach

  • Maintenance of Traffic
  • Transportation Demand Management
  • Public Information Plan

Speaker Notes: Lets look at strategies those three groups will use to help us cope. It is vitally important during the reconstruction that motorists have good information in order to cope with the impacts it will inevitably have on all of us. An important part of that information is how the contractor and UDOT will maintain traffic, how the traveling public will participate in getting cars off the streets with Transportation Demand Management, and how UDOT will get information out to the public, so they can make good decisions.

Slide 17

Maintenance of Traffic

  • Development of impact mitigation alternatives
  • Parallel street projects
  • Capacity improvements on corridors

Slide 18

Cost Influence Curve

Line Graph: As the project starts and time passes, the ability to influence cost will decrease while project expenditures will increase. The project phases (from start to finish) include: Conceptual Planning, Design, Procurement, Construction and Start-Up.


Slide 19


  • Involvement process began early
    • Met with mayors, city engineers, and public works directors of affected jurisdictions
      • 6 Cities, 1 County on corridor
      • 8 Cities, 1 County off corridor
    • Received endorsement for D/B concept
    • Presented preferred alternative and potential construction schedule

Slide 20

Parallel Streets

  • Reviewed routes along the corridor
    • Identified capacity constraints, community issues, and possible alternate routes
  • Identified 21 potential projects to make improvements
  • Used a macroscopic model to evaluate potential improvements
  • 9 projects recommended for construction, with a value of $50 Million

Slide 21

Parallel Street Projects

  • 2 projects were 'on the shelf'
    • Had completed EIS's
    • Widened a parallel route from 2 to 6 lanes
  • Remainder were 'spot improvements'
    • Removed choke points
    • Removed medians and added lanes
    • Enhanced intersection capacity

Slide 22

Parallel Street Projects

  • All projects were to be 'fast track' advertised by early 1996, with required completion prior to major construction beginning in summer 1997
  • UDOT Region assisted both with design and project oversight

Slide 23

Emergency Responders

  • Facilitated cooperative meetings among all emergency agencies
    • Law enforcement
    • Fire
    • Medical

Slide 24

Emergency Responders

  • Created command structure, and created cross jurisdictional responses
    • Best able to respond
  • Utah Highway Patrol was lead law enforcement agency
  • Alleviated fears of increased response time

Slide 25

Trucking Industry

  • Large impacts to interstate travel
    • Crossroads of the west
  • Need to coordinate with closures
  • Provide real time information for routing
  • Detours to local streets for LCV's and Hazmat carriers

Slide 26

Business Community

  • Hosted business fairs
  • Encouraged flexible schedules
  • Car pools
  • Telecommuting
  • "how to cope" seminars
  • Print ready materials

Slide 27

Transportation Demand Management

  • A variety of methods for reducing transportation demand on the street system.
    • Coordination with existing Utah Transit Authority programs:
      • Employee-sponsored bus passes (deep discount program)
      • Rideshare (carpooling) - computerized rider matching program
      • Vanpool (UTA financed van purchase or lease)
    • Other trip reduction strategies
      • Flextime
      • Telecommuting
    • Public Information Plan

Slide 28

Public Information Plan Challenges

  • Creating partnerships with the media, Communities, Businesses, and Public
  • Convincing a change in driver habits -- promoting the benefits
  • Communicating the vision

Slide 29

Public Information Plan

  • Information to the public
    • What’s the schedule?
    • What is open and closed?
    • How do we cope?
  • Information from the public

Speaker Notes: When I talk about public information, I don't in any way mean a one-way feed of information from UDOT to the public. Finally, the contractor is required to participate in our public information efforts. They will be providing staff and support for many parts of that plan. The public information effort will be staffed by a team with members from the contractor, UDOT and the public. As I mentioned before, in the last couple of years UDOT has done extensive research primarily to find out what kind of information the public needs during construction projects, and how and when they want to receive it. The public told us they wanted to know why we are reconstructing I-15 and what benefit it would bring to the State. They want to know what it will look like when it's finished, and what they can expect during construction. Again, they wanted to know about tools they can use and actions they can take to cope throughout the reconstruction. To be responsive to what the public has asked, we have created an interactive public information plan which will be followed, not only in getting information out to the public, but input back from the public.

Slide 30


Slide 31

Request for Proposals

  • Set the framework for the contract
  • Laid down the ground rules
  • Provided contractor with flexibility, but with constraints
  • Assigned risk to those who could best handle it
  • Issued October, 1996
  • Best and Final Offer in February, 1997

Slide 32

Request for Proposals

  • Maintenance of Traffic Specification
    • Responded to community concerns
    • Provided maximum flexibility
    • Allowed for innovation

Slide 33

Maintenance of Traffic Performance Specification

  • I-15 Mainline
    • 2 lanes open each direction during peak hours
      • Peak Hours
        • 6 AM to 10 PM weekdays
        • 8 AM to 7 PM weekends
  • Junctions
    • maintain freeway to freeway movements through existing ramps or freeway detours
  • Downtown
    • 2 accesses open at all times

Slide 34

Maintenance of Traffic Performance Specification

  • Interchanges
    • cross streets at interchanges may be closed for a maximum of 6 months
      • This may occur IF one is south of the I-15/I-215 Junction, and one is north of it.
    • complete remaining construction in following 6 months
    • close movement if it is available at adjacent interchange

Slide 35

Maintenance of Traffic Performance Specification

  • Other
    • Coordination with ATMS system
    • Provide off-duty uniformed officer and car on the corridor
    • Provide motorist guidance
    • Aid in emergency response
    • Provide a courtesy patrol
    • Provide emergency pullouts every km

Slide 36

The Selection Process

A scale metaphorically weighing Price vs. Technical Proposal

Slide 37

Proposal Evaluation

  • Price and technical proposals had equal weight
  • Maintenance of traffic was 1 of 6 technical areas
  • Proposals were evaluated for 'Best Value'

Slide 38

Evaluation Factors

  • Technical Solutions
    • Maintenance of Traffic
    • Geotechnical
    • Structures
    • Pavement
    • Maintainability
    • Aesthetics, Drainage, Roadway Geometry, Lighting, Traffic Signals, Signing, Water Quality, Harmful/Hazardous Materials Remediation, Concrete Barriers, and ATMS
  • Work Plan/Schedule
  • Management
  • Organizational Qualifications
  • Price

Slide 39


  • Enhancements by successful proposer
    • Maintain 3 lanes on southern end of project through junction with I-215
    • Restripe west side of I-215 belt route to 4 lanes each direction
      • Required modification and enhancements
    • Reduce interchange cross street closure to 4 months
    • Expanded use of night operations
      • Freeway closures in the off-peak hours

Slide 40


  • Enhancements by successful proposer
    • Added courtesy patrol to west side belt route
    • Expanded use of off-duty law enforcement
    • Much simpler construction phasing
      • Better driver expectancy
    • Opened south end of project 1 year early

Slide 41


  • Enhancements by successful proposer
    • Provided glare screen entire length of corridor to reduce construction 'gawking' and improving capacity
    • Use of ITS elements as they became available
    • Dedicated staff for both design and implementation of MOT

Slide 42


  • Weekly meetings with UDOT, the contractor, design, UHP, all Segments, public information, and local jurisdications
    • Coordinated proposed work schedule for following week corridor wide
      • No conflicts or overlaps
      • Conformance with contract

Slide 43


  • Web site and phone tree up to date
  • Constant interaction with local entities
  • Personal visits to affected neighborhoods
  • Personal visits to affected businesses
    • Photo-ready maps and materials
  • Respond to individual requests
  • Dedicated contractor staff to work out any issues
    • Hot line
      • Interactive
      • Could leave message or talk to 'real' person

Slide 44

How the Public is Informed

  • 60 % of Drivers get information from the Media
  • 15 % from the Internet
  • 9 % from UDOT
  • 3 % from I-15 Hotline (1-888-INFO-I15)
  • Only 7% don't know where to get information
    • this number continues to decline

Slide 45

Deseret News/Dan Jones Poll

July 28, 1997

  • 82% inconvenienced
  • 86% are well informed
  • 70% still agree with design/build decision

Slide 46

Traffic Conditions

Slide 47

Corridor Traffic Conditions

  • 209,000 vehicles per weekday on I-15 in June, 1996
    • Lane use of 17,400 vplpd in 12 lanes
    • 24 hour per day use
    • 12’ lanes, full shoulders
  • 93,500 vehicles per weekday on I-15 in June, 1999
    • Lane use of 23,400 vplpd in four lanes
    • 16 hour per day use (closed 10 pm to 6 am)
    • 11' lanes, 2' shoulders
  • 115,500 vpwd displaced

Slide 48

Traffic Volume Comparison - I-15 to Parallel Streets

Bar Graph: For the month of June 1999,the volume of traffic on parallel streets, including Foothill, 700 East, State Street, Redwood, I-215 West and Bangerter, was approximately 85,000 vehicles. The volume of traffic no longer on I-15 was approximately 115,000 vehicles. The Assumed 7% TDM of 6-96 I-15 AWDT amounts to approximately 15,000 vehicles.

Slide 49

Change in Traffic Volumes - Changes in I-15 and Parallel Streets

Month of June 1999
empty cell Volume*
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999
I-215 at 3100 South 91,000 96,000 98,000 132,000 138,000
I-15 at 1700 South 205,000 210,000 175,000 90,000 94,000
700 East at 1200 South 48,000 50,000 51,000 58,000 62,000
Bangerter at 2400 South 38,000 39,000 40,000 47,000 55,000
State at 1100 South 45,000 47,000 54,000 52,000 50,000
Redwood at 1500 South 27,000 24,000 27,000 31,000 29,000

*volume numbers are approximations based on line graph information

Slide 50


  • This indicated traffic was not entering local neighborhoods, as originally feared by residents
  • Parallel street projects provided route continuity and capacity
  • Public education informed motorists which routes were available

Slide 51


  • The decision to fast track the project was driven by the public, not the Department
  • The public was a partner in the development of the MOT specification, through many outreach meetings and focus groups

Slide 52


  • Local governments were a partner in the process, including the determination of early action item improvements to surface streets
  • Emergency responders were partners in the determination of restrictions on adjacent movements, and were involved intimately throughout the Project

Slide 53


  • Other transportation industry stakeholders were partners, including the trucking industry, the recreation industry, bus transit, light rail, and the cab/private hire industry
  • The business community were partners in changing work and delivery schedules

Slide 54


  • The media was a partner in providing up to date and accurate information to the public
    • Traffic reporters were 'in the loop' on what was going to happen
  • The approval rating of UDOT was higher than it had ever been
    • Seen as responsive to the public needs

Slide 55


  • Communication is the key
    • If you aren’t sick of communicating, you are not communicating enough
  • Work with all stakeholders, find common ground, and keep all commitments
  • Be proactive when possible
  • Be reactive when necessary

Slide 56


  • Maintain flexibility
  • Allow innovation
  • Think "outside the box"
  • Project mitigation begins long before the first barrel hits the pavement

Slide 57


John Leonard, PE

Operations Engineer

Division of Traffic and Safety

Utah Department of Transportation


Office of Operations