Trusting the Process: Forming a Strong Partnership with UDOT
UDOT Region 2 ACCESS Website Streamlines the Process
Working within a government entity’s timeline isn’t always at the rapid-fire pace that developers want but FOCUS Site Civil Multi-Family Commercial Division Manager Eric Winters sees that as part of the bigger picture when working with the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT).
Eric and the rest of the FOCUS team recognize that UDOT has the best interests of Utahns at heart, even if it sometimes delays the process. “We have to understand what they’re asking for and why. They care that development doesn’t negatively impact the roadways or make them unsafe.”
UDOT cares enough that Region 2 staff recently reached out to people like Eric to get feedback about their process – and they consequently streamlined their system. It used to be that a civil engineer or developer would attend a Pre-Application meeting with UDOT, put together their development package, submit it, and wait. It could be an arduous and lengthy process. But based on user feedback, UDOT Region 2’s recently-updated website walks a submitter through the process, allowing a person to schedule meetings directly on the site.
“The entire procedure is much faster now,” explains Eric. Now, FOCUS and/or the developer establishes a PA# on UDOT’s Permit website, then schedules an Owner/Developer meeting. Before this meeting, FOCUS does their research to make sure that road accesses can be combined or spread out as often as possible, making life easier in any given neighborhood. “Planning and proactivity go a long way,” states Eric. “You don’t want to make UDOT dictate what you are going to do.”
Engineering Meetings and Redline Meetings are the next step – where the engineer works with UDOT to revise and finalize the plans. What sets FOCUS apart is the team’s experience and relationship with UDOT. “The interactions we’ve had with them and our understanding of their processes is what makes our relationship with UDOT very good.”
On a recent project, FOCUS used a Variance Request Guide “cheat sheet” supplied by UDOT. “The process went better than any I had done before because we had the cheat sheet,” remarks Eric.