Category: Traffic Incident Management
When construction season and tourist season collide
May 22, 2023
It 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
April 20, 2023
When 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.
Helping motorists navigate safer routes in an emergency
April 11, 2023
Whenever there is a crash, tensions can run high for everyone involved. With “Safety First” and “People Matter” as two of our core values, doing whatever we can to relieve some of that tension is a high priority.
No one likes to sit in traffic waiting for lanes to be cleared after a crash. Not only is it annoying, but it can also be very dangerous. Jim Armstrong, an engineer in our Systems Operations Division quotes a national statistic that for every minute a lane is closed and traffic backs up, the risk of a second crash in the same area goes up 2.8 percent.
Clearing crashes quicker to keep you safer on Iowa’s roads
March 20, 2023
When 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.
Keeping you safe - Iowa’s traffic incident management community gathers to learn from each other
December 13, 2022
You may have heard it said that heroes are the ones who run toward danger instead of away from it. In Iowa, we’re very lucky to have a group of these heroes in the form of responders who work together to get emergencies on the road under control quickly and clear the way as soon as possible for travelers. Their actions save lives. Recently, a group of those heroes gathered in Ames for the 2022 Traffic Incident Management Conference to learn more about how working together at a crash scene can keep everyone safer.
Roadside Chat - Flashing lights? Do what's right. Move over
November 18, 2022
To 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.
Roadside Chat - Vets protected you. Protect others by driving sober
November 11, 2022
Every Nov. 11 we take a step back to honor those who have served our country. Celebrations of Veterans Day often include ceremonies thanking those brave individuals who leave their homes and families to protect our freedom.
While veterans have protected us from threats we may not always see, threats here at home are often much easier to combat. Drunk driving is one. If you’re going to be drinking, here are some basic tips to protect yourself and everyone else on the road.
Heads up! Iowa DOT is using technology to give you more information when you’re on the road
October 28, 2022
Chances are if you spend much time driving, you’ve come up on a line of traffic that is stopped or slowed down due to road construction. These lines or “queues” as traffic safety professionals call them, put drivers at a high risk of rear-end crashes if they’re not paying close attention to what is up ahead. This construction season the Iowa DOT explored additional technology that can provide drivers with more detailed information about stopped or slow traffic ahead.
Enhancing worker safety – new technology may light the way
October 26, 2022
Highway maintenance workers will tell you, to work along the road, you must keep a constant eye on both the work you are doing and the traffic moving around you. But splitting your concentration isn’t ideal and it can be dangerous.
As part of the Iowa DOT’s Business Plan, a one-year objective for 2022 seeks to “Improve Work Zone Safety.” One element of that objective is focused on helping motorists better see work zones, theoretically helping them avoid crashes in work areas. With the 2020 deaths of two of our employees, Lynn Roder and Jeff Arbogast, fresh in our hearts and minds, this objective has become even more urgent.
Using roadside technology to help you better plan a safer trip
October 25, 2022
Whether you’re planning a weekend getaway or a trip to visit family and friends, having the best information about your route will help you have a safer, quicker, and less stressful journey. While winter is coming, the Iowa Department of Transportation and our construction partners will still have many active work zones as long as the weather holds. These work zones and associated delays can sometimes put a kink in your travel plans if you’re not prepared for them.