UDOT tackles multiple summer projects
June 12, 2015
Orange cones, reduced traffic speeds and sporadic lane closures can only signify one thing: the summer construction season has officially began.
Anyone who has traveled to eastern Summit County via Interstate 80 within the past few months has already experienced some of the road projects the Utah Department of Transportation is undertaking this summer.
UDOT has closed the westbound lanes of I-80 between Silver Creek and Wanship for pavement replacement and will be sequentially closing two I-80 bridges for maintenance.
"We try to look at these projects and try and balance getting the work accomplished with the short timeframe in the summer," said Matt Zundel, UDOT resident engineer, in an interview with the Park Record. "I know that frustrates people, but we really try and keep an eye on traffic so we can make sure to keep people moving through these areas."
And in Zundel’s opinion, traffic hasn’t been too bad, so far.
"We’ve had some minor backing up, but no major accidents," Zundel said. "On Friday we tend to have some backing up heading eastbound because of people going to the reservoirs and around the county to recreate."
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Traffic on that section of I-80 has been reduced to two lanes and 45 miles per hour since April. The westbound lanes aren’t expected to reopen until an unspecified date this fall.
Zundel was particularly sympathetic to residents in the Promontory and Tollgate neighborhoods, both of which are primarily accessed via I-80.
"It’s been an impact to them and they have been incredibly patient and we appreciate their effort," he said. "We have been coordinating with them and they understand. But there are also some people that are understandably frustrated."
With the holidays and several special events right around the corner, Zundel said UDOT is putting measures into place to reduce delays.
"For each of the holidays we have hired a towing company to sit on site and be ready to pull out any accidents or breakdowns as they occur," Zundel said.
The same strategy was utilized last year when the eastbound lanes were closed for repaving. However, the project didn’t start until after July 4 last year.
Zundel emphasized UDOT’s main concern when completing these projects is ensuring traffic is able to navigate through the affected areas and construction doesn’t impede special events.
The maintenance taking place on the Hobson Road bridge and scheduled for the Judd Lane bridge, both of which cross over I-80, was granted with the condition it be completed in the summer. Zundel was adamant Hobson Road bridge would be opened before the school year begins.
The Union Pacific Rail Trail has been closed beneath Hobson Road and Judd Lane, but will be open for the Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back from June 19 to June 20.
Another construction project that will effect summer events is the pavement work on State Road 224 from the Marsac roundabout to the seasonal gate above the Montage Deer Valley.
Zundel likened the process to repainting a house saying "we do the same thing with the structure of the road."
"We go up and take off the top one inch of the asphalt and then put back on fresh, new asphalt," he said.
Slated to take place from July 27 through mid-September, traffic will be reduced to one-lane Mondays through Fridays. S.R. 224 will also be temporarily closed from Hillside Avenue to Ontario Mine, with a detour available from Deer Valley Drive to Royal Street.
"We have some events that go down this section of the road, so we’ll pull all machines and traffic control off make sure those continue," he said. "It’s always a key thing to have these areas open. People live here, work here and play here. We need to keep them moving."
For more information about UDOT’s summer construction projects go to https://www.udot.utah.gov/projects/f?p=250:1:0 or for current traffic conditions, go to udot traffic.com. A UDOT traffic app is available on Android and IOS.