Visualizing Clear Roads

Over the last year, UDOT has installed 37 cameras for use specifically as visual tools  in winter storm management. These cameras give insight to the road conditions in some of Utah’s most remote and problematic areas. The installation has a reasonable one-time cost of $7,500 to install and maintain the camera, a minimal monthly service fee  and their use is available to the Highway Patrol, the Sheriff’s Department and the school systems to have insight into the road conditions, further magnifying the cameras’ value. This information is provided quickly without having to waste time or resources to get to those remote locations to observe conditions. More energy savings is realized because the cameras are powered by solar power as power sources in these remotes areas are minimal or non-existent.

State Route 44 at Mile 9

Knowing the conditions in these remote areas prevents unnecessary trips by the plows. The Duchesne maintenance shed alone saved 28 trips in one month to the Indian Creek Summit. Each of these trips had an approximate cost of $325 when you factor in manpower, equipment and fuel.  This savings of $9,100 for the month, covers the cost of the camera without even taking into account the accidents prevented or the environmental benefits of eliminating the trip.  It also means that the resources are available for other critical uses such as maintaining roads elsewhere. Snowfall can be observed when it begins and plows can be pro-actively deployed.

The winter condition cameras were installed as a result of a UDOT District Engineer named Bob Westover. Bob’s extensive experience working at UDOT gave him the insight to see how we could better use our resources. It is this institutional knowledge that allows employees to implement value on a daily basis.

What you can do:

  • Check road conditions on UDOT’s CommuterLink website before you leave the house to know the conditions of the roads
  • If you suspect weather changes, consider leaving earlier or later than your planned time to avoid the brunt of the storm. Less cars on the road during a storm helps UDOT clear the roads faster.

(DH)

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One response to this post.

  1. This is a great post, Deb! I knew the cameras were in use but had no idea that the cost savings was this good.

    Reply

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