UDOT visits Emery County: Safety concerns with SR-10
The Utah Department of Transportation met in Castle Dale for their yearly meeting.
One request Brad Giles from the Castle Dale City council made was for the bridge leaving Castle Dale to be replaced. The road narrows from four lanes down to two around that corner and across the bridge. The bridge is narrow and there have been several accidents on the bridge.
UDOT said they would take the matter under advisement. Giles said they have asked for the bridge and four lanes leaving Castle Dale for a number of years and hopefully the project is moving up on the list. Giles said the curve into Castle Dale is also problematic and requested four lanes into Castle Dale from the desert turnoff. The sharp corner catches people by surprise and many go too fast around that corner crossing over the center line. It's a real safety issue and many accidents have occurred on that corner.
Chris Potter from UDOT conducted the meeting and he went over the UDOT directors saying Carlos Braceras is the new director with Shane Marshall as the deputy director.
Emery County is part of region four and Rick Torgerson is the director for this region. He knows the needs and projects of the region.
UDOT has created a vision statement. Their goals are to optimize mobility; add capacity; utilize new designs, add managed lanes of travel and signal controls.
In Salt Lake they are working with innovative designs and lanes of travel which change directions with the rush hour traffic.
Potter talked about the Zero Fatalities campaign which is working to reduce fatal accidents in Utah. He said it may not seem realistic to have this goal. But, if you talk to any family in Utah and ask them which family member they would be willing to lose to a car accident and the answer would be zero.
No one wants to lose a loved one. The number one thing you can do to protect your loved ones and yourself is to buckle up. Another is not to drive drowsy or to text and drive or drink and drive.
Potter said in the year 2000 there were 373 fatalities; in 2013 there were 219 which is a decrease of 41 percent. Of those 152 killed half were not wearing seat belts and the probability that 50-60 of those lives would have been saved with seat belts is high. Being unbuckled increases the risks to other passengers in the car by 40 percent. You can become a potential projectile to the rear or to the side. Unbuckled people are 30 percent more likely to be ejected. Three out of four people die if they are ejected.
Potter said they have been showing informational videos as part of their education program. They are trying to change the culture and encourage everyone to think safety. Potter said he has made a decision to always wear his seatbelt even on short trips. It's one of his goals and in the state vehicles it's a requirement for all state employees to buckle up and be safe.
Transportation is very important in bringing business into Utah and adding to the economy.
Another goal of UDOT is transparency. They have had some situations in the past which when uncovered caused problems for the department.
Each spring UDOT visits all 29 counties to discuss the issues important to that county and to give information about UDOT as a whole.
Potter asked those present to voice any concerns they had about Emery County roads.
Commissioner James Nelson said there needs to be signage along SR-29 for the boulderers regarding where they can camp and park.
Commissioner Ethan Migliori thanked UDOT for the many improvements to SR-6 which Emery County residents travel frequently.
A request was made for better lighting to mark the intersection of SR-29 and SR-10. The intersection is not well lit and people miss the turn onto SR-29. It was suggested maybe solar lighting could be installed there.
Emery Town requested more sidewalk along Main Street and asked for help with the noise from the coal trucks.
All bridges in the UDOT system are inspected every two years. There are funds available for bridges that are off-system bridges and they went over what towns need to do to apply for those funds.
UDOT funds have decreased over the years facilitating the need for funding reductions in all the various fund accounts for road and other improvements. Funds are also available for trail systems and lighting projects.
Each region makes a list of the needs for that region. It may take several years before a project reaches the funding year.
Nick Jones from the Local Technical Assistance Program told of the various trainings available. They offer training for flaggers. They also take information for various areas where hazards exist. People report to them issues with roadways including trees growing too close to a road which create visibility issues, improper grading on roads, improper drainage, driveways in bad spots and other problems.
Jones provided a crash report of accidents occurring which resulted in a fatality. Over time areas are mapped where accidents occur and the reasons for these crashes are investigated to determine problem areas. Areas where the pavement drops off rapidly result in more crashes where drivers can't get themselves back up on the road, or they overcorrect causing roll over type accidents. Jones said when overlay projects take place they do a safety edge on the side of the road which helps keep drivers on the road. This safety edge won't grab tires. Jones also mentioned that night-time travel is three times more dangerous than daytime travel.
They are working on reflective signs and all current signs will be replaced in the next five-seven years. All new road projects must use type 3 high intensity signs.
The UDOT website is udot.utah.gov and much information is available on the website including current projects and updates on future projects.
Projects either underway or planned for Emery County include: Millsite State Park Access Road-$2,000,000; SR-31; MP 36.196 to MP 42.071-Awarded-$585,000; South Moore Cut-Off Road, Phase 10-$1,049,364; Signal at SR-10 and SR-31, Huntington-$300,000; US-6; Passing Lanes MP 288 to MP 300-$9,000,000.