SALT LAKE CITY — Orange barrels and construction cones will once again dot the state this summer, as the Utah Department of Transportation steamrolls into its busiest season.
"We have a small window when we can actually do these construction projects," UDOT spokeswoman Tania Mashburn said Monday.
Before the year is through, more than 200 projects will be underway on Utah's thousands of miles of state roads.
Only a handful of the anticipated road construction projects have already begun, but Mashburn said each is intended to make traffic run more safely and smoothly.
In addition to the ongoing Utah County I-15 Corridor Expansion and the Mountain View Corridor project, sections of highways are set to be resurfaced and reinforced to provide improved performance, lanes will be added in areas with highest demands and bridges will also be replaced, as well as exits and interchanges, resulting in more efficient and safe traffic flow in areas throughout the state.
"We're working continuously on all of our state roads to make them safer," Mashburn said. Safety includes the installation of concrete or cable-median barriers, to keep vehicles on the right sides of the road during any unforeseen incidents.
UDOT crews will try to do most of the road work during off-peak hours and on nights and weekends, she said, to avoid already congested commute times throughout the year. They are also using various innovative techniques to make the projects least invasive to drivers.
In some cases, a quick-drying cement material will be used to minimize impacts on traffic. UDOT has already employed the use of "bridge-farms," where bridges and overpasses are built to the side of the road instead of in place and later moved in just a few hours, to cut down the time traffic is detoured or blocked from the affected areas.
And UDOT is asking drivers to stay informed of the ongoing situation with Utah's roads, offering an interactive website (www.udot.utah.gov) that not only showcases work sites, but weather conditions, real-time traffic cameras and current traffic incidents; a road construction guide, detailing the Top 25 projects, is available online and at more than 200 Subway restaurants and 600 hotels, motels and other places tourists visit; as well as weekly texts and/or emails to which drivers can subscribe.
While the number of construction projects slated for this year is about average among the past five years, Mashburn said UDOT wants to finish them as quickly as possible and needs cooperation from the public to do so.
The current "Know Where Know Why" campaign, she said aims to proactively communicate with the traveling public, to help them better plan ahead for the anticipated projects.
All of the projects will likely be completed by the end of 2011, except for the I-15 CORE project in Utah County, and the Mountain View Corridor, connecting Salt Lake County with Utah County, which are scheduled to be completed in 2012.
Road guides are already available and with the majority of the construction scheduled for the upcoming season still awaiting calmer weather to get started, Mashburn said she hopes drivers come prepared.
The following projects are slated to begin this year, or have already begun on Utah's roads:
• 1000 West (S.R. 252), Logan
• I-15, Box Elder County
• S.R. 39, Ogden
• I-84, Morgan to Mountain Green
• I-84, Taggart Bridges
• I-15, Bountiful
• Renovate I-80, Salt Lake City to Wyoming
• Bridge Deck Projects, Salt Lake County
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