Transportation Matters fOR Iowa

Category: Operations

Heads up speeders! Iowa DOT helping smaller cities and towns improve safety

Heads up speeders! Iowa DOT helping smaller cities and towns improve safety

April 22, 2024

Speed and slow downDo you ever find yourself driving and suddenly realize you're going faster than you thought? It's a common scenario, especially on familiar roads, where getting a bit too heavy-footed on the accelerator is easy. This habit can be dangerous, particularly as you come into a town where you'll often see frequent stops and people crossing the road. Unfortunately, it’s typical for drivers to miss these reduced speed limits.

Willy Sorenson, a traffic safety engineer in the Traffic and Safety Bureau, noted a common request from cities. “They often ask about lower speeds as you enter their city limits to increase the safety of their streets, but they have a few issues including budget constraints and limited law enforcement availability to enforce the lower speeds. We wanted to step up and find a way to offer cost-effective solutions to help these smaller cities and towns improve safety.”

Collaborative efforts taking shape for planning safer work zones

Collaborative efforts taking shape for planning safer work zones

April 15, 2024

IMG_0792With the relatively mild winter we’ve had, you’ve likely already encountered work zones on Iowa roads. With National Work Zone Safety Awareness Week kicking off today, here's more information about how we work with our partners to plan safer work zones for everyone.  

At the end of last year, we convened our third Work Zone Information Sharing Workshop. The two-day meeting brought together not just Iowa DOT management, central office, and field forces, but our partners in law enforcement, academia, motor carriers, traffic control contractors, the traffic management center, and Federal Highway Administration officials.

How you can help keep Iowa roads safer

How you can help keep Iowa roads safer

March 4, 2024

Traffic on US 20One of the main things you need to be safe on the road is predictability. That means getting from Point A to Point B without any surprises. Whenever an unexpected incident happens, whether it is a crash, stalled vehicle, debris on the road, or anything else that could impact traffic, your trip becomes less predictable and more hazardous.


At the Iowa DOT, we rely on a lot of tools to help keep your trip as predictable as possible. Two of our core values, Safety First and Customer Focus, are put into practice doing just that in our Traffic Management Center in Ankeny. The dedic
ated staff monitors hundreds of roadside cameras 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, and fields incoming calls from law enforcement and other sources. They then work to make sure you have the information you need by lighting up the message signs along the road and posting information to the 511 system.

 

Above and beyond – just a few stories from the snowstorms of January 2024

Above and beyond – just a few stories from the snowstorms of January 2024

January 29, 2024

Plow cam 1-9 830 US 218 n of nashuaThe rash of January snowstorms put a real strain on our resources but many don’t realize the things our snow fighters do to make sure you can safely get to where you need to go. During this most recent storm, we had several garage staff who worked 12- to 16-hour shifts for 16 days straight. In some areas, there are no hotels close enough to ensure that our snow fighters can safely and easily get back to the shop for their next shift. It’s not uncommon for these dedicated men and women to sleep in sleeping bags on cots in the garages, unable to get back home for days at a time for a home-cooked meal or to sleep in their own bed. But as is always the case, our crews stepped up and did what needed to be done. There are dozens of stories out there that may never be told outside of the garage, but here are just a few stories that have been shared of DOTers who went above and beyond the call of duty.

When construction season and tourist season collide

When construction season and tourist season collide

May 22, 2023

Causeway ITS cameraIt sounds like a recipe for frustration. Major repairs are needed to the main transportation artery through a very popular tourist area. As most Iowans know, the road construction season can be intense because good weather to accommodate work is somewhat limited. The same could be said for the summer water sports season. 

Here’s the situation. The pavement on U.S. 71 in Iowa’s Lakes region in Northwest Iowa needs to be replaced and the sidewalks on the causeway, which is a short bridge over the lake, need to be updated with safety barrier rail to protect pedestrians. Most of the impacts are to the towns of Arnold’s Park and Okoboji, home to one of the most popular lake regions in the state. 

For the Iowa Department of Transportation to provide excellent customer service, we needed to find a way to get nearly $20 million in construction work done while also minimizing disruption to the tourist season. Our team in the District 3 office in Sioux City ramped up communication with both our contracting partners and the community, with a focus on listening to and taking the needs of those in the area into consideration when staging certain aspects of the project to reconstruct U.S. 71.

HIGH-FLYING SAFETY INITIATIVE AIMS TO GET TRAFFIC MOVING MORE QUICKLY AFTER AN INCIDENT

HIGH-FLYING SAFETY INITIATIVE AIMS TO GET TRAFFIC MOVING MORE QUICKLY AFTER AN INCIDENT

April 20, 2023

45870468_1997712390275759_6678215674701021184_nWhen something unexpected like a traffic crash happens, getting first responders to the scene to treat you if you’re injured is the first priority. While this is happening, law enforcement and other first responders, including the Iowa Department of Transportation, are completing investigations and doing whatever they can to get the road cleared so traffic can get moving normally again.

Clearing crashes quicker to keep you safer on Iowa’s roads

Clearing crashes quicker to keep you safer on Iowa’s roads

March 20, 2023

20180611_205558When there is a crash, especially one that involves a large truck, every minute counts to get traffic moving again and keep you safer on the road. Research shows that for every minute that a lane is closed, the risk of another crash in the area goes up by 2.8 percent. At around 30 minutes, the chance of a second crash in the area is very high.

A new program in the Iowa City and Des Moines areas helps us fulfill one of our core values, “Safety First”, by clearing crashes more quickly, especially those involving large trucks, which reduces your risk of being involved in a second crash. The program offers incentives to towing companies to have specialized equipment ready to respond to commercial vehicle crashes.

New research aims to increase safety for those in and around snowplows

New research aims to increase safety for those in and around snowplows

February 27, 2023

Current lightingOur mission is to make lives better through transportation, which includes looking for ways to make you safer when traveling on wintry Iowa roads, especially when you come up on one of our massive snowplow trucks.

Light it up – testing new lighting for our snowplow trucks
You would think that our very large orange trucks would be difficult to miss, but we still have dozens of them hit from behind every year. In a crash like that, it’s generally the motorist who suffers the most serious consequences. To help you better see our trucks in winter weather, we’re researching new ideas to improve the lighting that is visible when coming up behind one of our trucks.

Plow cam images provide more than just a glimpse at winter weather

Plow cam images provide more than just a glimpse at winter weather

January 24, 2023

Wills SunDogYou know when you have this idea that you think is pretty good, but you have no concept of how it might explode into something much more than you expected over time? That’s what happened with the snow plow camera images the Iowa Department of Transportation began using eight years ago.

Roadside Chat - Flashing lights? Do what's right. Move over

Roadside Chat - Flashing lights? Do what's right. Move over

November 18, 2022

11-18 do whats rightTo keep everyone safer on the road, every state across the country has enacted some form of a “Move Over” law to encourage motorists to either slow down or move over when they come up on a crash scene. National data shows that nearly 30 percent of people are unaware that these laws exist.

As we finish out Crash Responder Safety Week, here’s a reminder about Iowa’s “Move over” law. The law (Iowa Code 321.323) was enacted in 2002 to help protect responders and motorists. It was expanded in 2018 to include not only emergency vehicles but any vehicle alongside the road with flashing lights.

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