Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008...

Single-level DMU demonstratorImage via WikipediaAs we leave 2008 and enter the New Year it is time to look back at one of the most important years in Utah transportation history.

Let’s look at some of the big stories of the year locally:

1. Construction started on not one, not two, not three, but four rail lines within a few short months. While many cities are still trying just to get rail off the ground, the Wasatch Front is quickly moving to having an outstanding rail system.

2. The opening of the Front Runner Commuter rail line and the extension of TRAX to Central Station. While in any other year this would rate as the news story, it took a back seat to the groundbreaking that took place this year.

On the national side there is so many stories that can be included I will just include the ones I think as most important:

1. Funding for transit projects were approved in multiple locations despite the state of the economy. This includes what could be America’s first high speed rail line in California if the Governor doesn’t steel the money for highways.

2. Opening of the Phoenix light rail system was also big news that just happened last week. Phoenix is a very auto oriented city so seeing it finally get its light rail system is a major victory to sensible transportation planning.

3. On a negative note, we lost one of the few US based rail car construction companies. Colorado Railcar shut down operations just last week after an extended period of financial problems. Colorado Railcar built excellent rail cars for such trains as the Rocky Mountaineer and was the only manufacturer of US spec DMU units. Hopefully

2009 will probably be a quiet year on the local front. While construction will continue on our new light and commuter rail lines, we only have the ground breaking of the Draper extension to look forward to in the New Year.

Meanwhile on the national front, we will see if the new administration will be anything different than the ones that came before it. So far we are not seeing many positive signs but by this time next year we will have a clear picture of what is to come.

Happy New Year to all my readers.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

Blog Entries of Note...

South Florida Regional Transportation Authorit...Image via WikipediaFrom the Stephen Rees Blog comes:

Citta Slow

How walking, streetcars (trams), and bicycles will play an important roll in the future. We need to change our priorities to build our future.

Economy has builders eyeing a return to rental apartments

Interesting perspective on the rental laws in British Columbia and comparing them to the rather landlord friendly laws here in Utah.

From the Denver Infill Blog comes:

Lessons from Detroit

What lessons can be learned from the problems of Detroit? Detroit is the ultimate example of what happens when the urban core is abandoned in favor of automobile suburbs.

Both sides of my family comes from the Detroit area so I can attest to all the problems that Detroit has and it can be largely contributed to the abandonment of the urban core.

From the Xing Columbus Blog:


Should a building built in a car dependent area be able to get LEED certification? Currently the answer is yes, but should it be?

From the Trains for America Blog:

Seattle Times: A coming rennaisance for intercity rail?

State politicians talking about HSR, but still directing stimulus towards roads

As I have stated before, I will believe we will have change in the philosophy in transportation when I see it happen. Too often there is more talk and little action.

From the Overhead Wire blog:

Prop 13 Hangover

Prop 13 which cut property taxes to existing homeowners has some unintended consequences which is discussed in those post.

Replay 10.16.07: Vienna's Ringstrasse

Great information about how Vienna's multi-modal transportation network is put together in the downtown area.


Who’s Really Footing the Bill for Roads?

From the Seattle Transit Blog:

Colorado Railcar Gone: What is next?

Colorado Railcar who was the only builder of DMU's in the United States that built an FRA compliant self propelled rail vehicle has shut down operations.

Thank God For Walkable Neighborhoods

Especially when you live in Seattle and it gets on of its infrequent snow falls that shut down streets and highways.

From the Light Rail AZ Blog:

A "Grand" Opening, indeed

Yes, another Meca to the automobile has fallen to light rail. Phoenix opened their first light rail line last weekend with an estimated 90,000 people ridding that first day. Now maybe Phoenix can start rebuilding their downtown area and make it more livable.

From the Jacksonville Transit Blog:


While Phoenix gets its light rail system up and running many cities in Florida are still behind the 8 ball.

From the Intermodality Blog:

A new streetcar era?

Explains the difference between streetcars and light rail.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

West Valley TRAX Update

I created this map with ESRI software and Utah...Image via Wikipedia

Construction progress continues on the West Valley TRAX Line. To keep business and traffic impacts to a minimum and for management and planning purposes, this five-mile project has been separated into seven construction “reaches,” or segments. The map below shows each construction reach in a different color, starting with Reach 1 in light green on the south end of the project and ending with Reach 7 in dark green on the north end.

Construction will resume in all reaches on January 5th. Please feel free to call the hotline at 1-888-800-8854 if you have concerns during the holiday break.

A description of what is happening in each area is listed below. If you need further construction information, please call our toll-free 24-hour hotline at (888) 800-8854.

Reach 1

Reach Description: Reach 1 is the area along Constitution Boulevard (2700 South) from West Valley City Hall at 3600 South extending north to 3100 South. This area includes both large and small businesses, as well as many residents. Access to all businesses and residences will be maintained throughout construction.

Current Construction: TRAX construction is taking place in conjunction with UTA’s bus rapid transit project on Market Street. Crews are currently working in between West Valley City Hall and the Public Safety Building. Watch for project signs in the work areas for more information.

Other work taking place includes, third party utility relocations along Constitution Boulevard and excavation and utility work near West Valley City Center.

Upcoming Construction: Construction is scheduled to begin on 2700 West from 3500 South to 3100 South during December. This work will mainly include utility relocations and will proceed along the side of the roadway. Impacts to motorists should be minimal. As we get closer to construction, we will meet with all residents to discuss how to minimize impacts.

We want to thank the residents bordering Constitution Boulevard for working with us during the pre-construction phase of this project. As work progresses, we will keep in contact to help mitigate any issues that may arise.

Traffic Impacts: Current impacts to motorists should be minimal; however, there will be minor lane restrictions as utility companies work along Constitution Boulevard.

Reach 2

Reach Description: Reach 2 is the area along 3100 South from Constitution Boulevard to Decker Lake Drive. The E Center and a few other businesses are located in this reach, as well as residents on either side of 3100 South. Access will be maintained throughout construction and we will work with The E Center to coordinate our efforts so you can continue to visit the great events they have to offer. When TRAX is completed along 3100 South, it will operate on the south side of the roadway.

Current Construction: Construction has begun on the TRAX bridge over I-215 on the south side of 3100 South. The foundation work for this structure includes driving steel pile into the ground using a machine that may generate significant noise and vibration for local residents. To help alleviate impacts, pile driving activities will take place over the next few weeks and will be limited to the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Construction will also include minor lane restrictions on I-215 periodically throughout the next couple of months.

Upcoming Construction: Construction will continue on the TRAX bridge over I-215 for the next several months. Utility work will also begin on 3100 South near The E Center and Decker Lake Drive during the first couple of weeks of January 2009.

Traffic Impacts: There will be some lane restrictions on I-215 as crews progress with bridge construction. We will work with the partnering agencies to notify travelling motorists about possible lane restrictions.

Reach 3

Reach Description: Reach 3 is the area along Decker Lake Drive from 3100 South to Research Way (2770 South) and running east to Redwood Road. This area includes many commercial office buildings with thousands of employees who access this area on a daily basis. We will continue to work with these businesses to ensure access is provided at all times.

Current Construction: Crews are currently working on a storm drain on the east side of Decker Lake Drive. A lot of progress has been made and traffic is expected to switch to the other side of the street in January 2009. Access is being maintained and we thank the businesses and motorists for their support during construction.

Upcoming Construction: Construction is anticipated to take place along Decker Lake Drive throughout the next several months.

Traffic Impacts: Access to businesses is being maintained throughout this reach. Traffic is anticipated to switch again from the west side of Decker Lake Drive to the east side sometime in January 2009.

Please be mindful of workers and obey posted speed limits.

Reach 4

Reach Description: Reach 4 runs through the Chesterfield residential area along 2770 South and proceeds along the Decker Lake Canal and the Crosstowne Trail. We will work with residents in this area to ensure a safe working environment that provides access to their properties throughout construction.

Current Construction: The majority of construction on the West Valley Line has taken place on the east side of Redwood Road. Crews are now installing a permanent wall along both sides of the Crosstowne Trail. Significant drainage and irrigation work has been accomplished, as well as foundation work for TRAX’s overhead wiring system. A permanent fence has been installed just east of the Brighton Canal to the Khadeeja Islamic Center on Parkway Avenue.

Upcoming Construction: Sound wall installation in the Chesterfield neighborhood is anticipated to take place over the next couple of months.

Traffic Impacts:

· The Crosstowne Trail along 2770 South just east of Redwood Road to the Brighton Canal is currently closed. Once TRAX construction is completed, the trail will once again be operational.

Reach 5

Reach Description: Reach 5 will include construction along 1070 West in the Chesterfield industrial area. This reach will include one bridge structure over the Jordan River and another over 900 West.

Current Construction: The majority of construction is taking place on 1070 West just north of Parkway Avenue, along with third party utility work. There will be some lane restrictions implemented. A joint trench for utilities and sewer line work is also taking place along 1070 West, as well as pile driving for a retaining wall.

Traffic Impacts: As construction proceeds, there will be some lane restrictions. However, we will maintain access at all times.

Reach 6

Reach Description: Reach 6 runs through the Union Pacific Railroad’s Roper Yard area. Although there are no businesses and residents, extensive coordination will take place with the Union Pacific Railroad to ensure that freight deliveries and other train travel will be maintained. Reach 6 will include an extensive bridging system that will enable TRAX to operate above ground, over other train traffic.

Current Construction: Crews have installed steel piles 120’ into the ground to form the main foundations for the aerial bridge that will carry TRAX over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. Crews are currently pouring concrete to form the columns for the bridge. Utility work is also taking place.

Upcoming Construction: Coordination will continue with the Union Pacific Railroad to install utilities and bridge structures.

Traffic Impacts: Not applicable. This is a Union Pacific Railroad work area.

Reach 7

Reach Description: Reach 7 is the area where the West Valley Line will connect with the current North/South TRAX Line. Construction will take place along Andy Avenue in South Salt Lake. Crews will closely coordinate activities with businesses to ensure access is maintained at all times. A construction survey has been conducted with the businesses along 400 West between Andy Avenue and 2100 South to determine the best time for construction in the Andy Avenue/600 West intersection.

Current Construction: Storm drain installation along Andy Avenue has been completed. We thank the businesses in this area for their support.

Upcoming Construction: The next phase of construction will begin near Andy Avenue next Spring. We will continue to work with businesses to maintain access and mitigate any issues that may arise.

Traffic Impacts: Access will be maintained at all times.

General Information

Access during Construction

UTA is committed to maintaining 24-hour access to all of the businesses and residences along the construction corridor. We will coordinate with businesses in cases where temporary access might be required.

Construction Hours

Construction on the project is permitted to take place between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Additionally, specific activities may require different working hours depending upon the conditions and will be coordinated with city officials.

Construction Tours

If you are interested in learning more about the construction project, please call our toll-free 24-hour hotline at (888) 800-8854.

For More Information

Timely and helpful information is available to assist business and residential communities as well as commuters and stakeholders.

If you have further questions not answered by this report or any comments regarding the project, please contact the toll-free 24-hour hotline at (888) 800-8854 or e-mail You can also visit UTA’s Web site at

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Front Runner South Construction Update

Front RunnerImage by jotor via Flickr


Construction is progressing on UTA’s FrontRunner South Provo to Salt Lake Commuter Rail line.

Below is the FrontRunner South quick construction update for December 13 - 19.

For a more comprehensive construction update, click here.

For more construction information please call our toll-free 24-hour hotline at (888) 800-8854.

Area 16 — Downtown Salt Lake City to 4500 South (Murray)

Construction Activity:

Work activities north of 3300 South have been deferred for the time being.

Fiber optic relocations along the eventual FrontRunner trackway in Area 16 between Murray and Salt Lake City are almost complete. All that remains are bores at all major road crossings and handhole placements. Boring at 4500 South will take place next week.

Traffic Impacts:

There are currently no traffic impacts in this area.

Salt Lake Central Station:

Station complete.

Area 15 — 4500 South (Murray) to 7800 South (Midvale)

Construction Activity:

Significant progress has also been made with fiber optic relocations taking place in Area 15. Boring will take place at 5300 South the first week of January.

Traffic Impacts:


Murray-5300 South Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Area 14 — 7800 South (Midvale) to Bangerter Highway (Draper/Bluffdale)

Construction Activity:

Progress continues in Area 14 west of Salt Lake Community College’s campus at 9800 South as crews construct a bridge that flies over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks. This is area where FrontRunner will move from the east side to the west side of the tracks. Crews have driven steel pile into the ground to build the base of this structure and are currently tying rebar cages for piers.

Crews are also constructing a bridge adjacent to the current Union Pacific Railroad bridge at 144th South. Crews are preparing the substructure so they can pour concrete. We thank motorists in this area for their patience and support during construction in this area.

Traffic Impacts:

A temporary traffic light has been placed at 144th South and the Union Pacific Bridge to help with traffic flow in this area.

South Jordan/Sandy Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Area 13 — Bangerter Hwy (Draper/Bluffdale) - Thanksgiving Point (Lehi)

Construction Activity:

Crews continue to establish access in this area and prepare the site along the railroad corridor in Bluffdale and Lehi and throughout the Jordan Narrows.

Traffic Impacts:

Impacts to motorists should be minimal as work proceeds along the railroad right-of-way.

Draper/Bluffdale Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Lehi Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Area 12 — Thanksgiving Point (Lehi) to Main Street (American Fork)

Construction Activity:

A lot of progress has already been made at the Lehi Park and Ride Lot near Thanksgiving Point. When construction resumes, crews will continue work at the park and ride lot and the pedestrian tunnel that will run underneath the Union Pacific trackway.

Utility relocations began this week near Thanksgiving Point.

Traffic Impacts:

There are currently no impacts to motorists in this area.

American Fork-Main St. Station:

Currently construction is not taking place at this station.

Area 11 — Main Street (American Fork) to 800 South (Orem)

Construction Activity:

Drainage improvements continue to take place along the Union Pacific Railroad tracks from Orem to American Fork. Third party utility work is also progressing north through this area and mainline ductbank installations continue.

Traffic Impacts:

There are currently no impacts to motorists in this area.

Orem Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Area 10 — 800 South (Orem) to Center Street (Provo)

Construction Activity:

Significant progress has been made in Area 10 along the Union Pacific Railroad corridor between University Parkway in Orem and West Center Street in Provo as crews prepare a path for FrontRunner by grading and clearing the right-of-way and relocating water lines.

Mainline duct bank installation and drainage and irrigation installations are generally complete.

Traffic Impacts:

Impacts to motorists are currently anticipated to be minimal as most work in this area is taking place along the rail corridor.

Provo Station-University Ave. Station:

No station construction activities to report.

Hobble Creek Wetlands Project — Springville, Utah


Although FrontRunner’s terminus is located in Provo, crews have finished construction on a floodplain south of Provo in Springville, Utah, to offset wetlands impacts related to building commuter rail in Utah County. In cooperation with the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program and other agencies, this project was constructed adjacent to a new Hobble Creek channel which is a tributary to Utah Lake and will replace major wetlands functions and vegetation and provide a protected nursery habitat for newly hatched June sucker fish. For more information on this wetlands project, please visit UTA’s Web site at Click on the Programs tab and then Projects. Additional information can also be found at

Construction Activity:

Construction on this 21-acre site located between I -15 and Utah Lake in Springville, Utah, is completed. Crews completed a final walk this week through with all stakeholder agencies to ensure project goals have been met.

Ribbon Cutting Event:

On November 12, 2008, the June Sucker Recovery Implementation Program hosted a ribbon cutting event to celebrate the completion of the Hobble Creek Wetlands Project.

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