UDOT visits county to discuss projects
The Utah Department of Transportation visited Castle Dale for an informational meeting for mayors, county commission and interested citizens.
Danny Page welcomed everyone to the meeting and showed the UDOT website which contains a lot of traffic and road information as well as information about the programs which UDOT operates. The webcams show roads throughout the state and the condition of those roads can be viewed. You can also download the UDOT app to get traffic information at your fingertips.
One program that is working well is Zero Fatalities. Fatalities in region four which includes Emery County has decreased by 12 percent this past year compared to 8 percent statewide. The region has seen a continuing decline in fatalities during the past four years. There's the Don't Drive Stupid campaign and programs that educate elementary age students on the dangers of construction zones and the truck smart program which educates new drivers on the dangers of driving around big trucks. Young drivers don't pay enough attention to trucks and can get into accidents when they don't respect truck traffic.
Last year on Memorial weekend and July 4th weekend there were no fatalities and holiday weekends are known for being deadly on the highways, but fatalities are being reduced due to education and more seatbelt wearers. Eighty-nine percent of fatalities occur on dry roads.
Other safety elements installed which help reduce fatalities in region four include: 38 miles of rumble strips and 40 miles of widened shoulders. Fourteen miles of guardrail, 38 miles of cable barrier and 291 crash attenuators (cushions.) Thirty-two miles of wildlife fence and 83 deer escape ramps. The cable barrier between lanes decreases cross over accidents. In analyzing data where accidents with fatalities occur, three-fourths of the time, there's been a highway departure. Forty percent of fatalities were not properly restrained in the vehicle. UDOT does research on areas of highway which have high accident rates. They look for ways to bring more safety to Utah's roadways.
UDOT has worked with Emery County on sidewalk projects and will continue to do that. One project for this spring is the repaving on I-70 from Sinbad to the break test area. Another project will be Green River to Floy. These will be 24 hour projects. The I-70 improvements have been a long time coming.
Currently 139 projects are being advertised. These road projects help strengthen the economy of the state of Utah. In addition to the work for construction companies there are consultants, engineers and other workers involved.
UDOT said they will continue to look at the intersection of Main Street and Center Street in Castle Dale where several accidents occur. Brad Giles, Castle Dale city councilman said the intersection is the site for many fender benders and near misses. With the post office, pharmacy, convenience store all in the vicinity as well as anyone traveling up Center to the high school, it's a very busy intersection."
The UDOT worker said Wellington was able to get a stoplight and they didn't meet the traffic volume numbers either, so something may be able to be done. Coal truck traffic is high through Castle Dale and the bridge just south of Castle Dale is inadequate. Giles requested there be four lanes around that corner.
UDOT works on a five year project plan. If funds aren't available for projects then they are pushed back another year. UDOT has pockets of money to help with various projects. They have off system bridge money that can be applied for. If a bridge serves a city and needs work then the city can apply for money. There is money for non-motorized improvements to trails and pathways. Safe routes to school had funds for sidewalks around schools, but the program was recently eliminated.
Nick Jones from LTAP said they sponsor trainings throughout the year. These include certifications, flagging classes, road scholar, signage. They are also available to do safety studies at intersections or around curves.
Another item to be aware of is if the project is a Buy America project then all materials that go into the project must come from American manufacturers.