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The TxDOT Update
News and Information from the Texas Department of Transportation
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In this issue

  • TxDOT Crews Helped Battle West Texas Wildfires
  • Steve Simmons to be Honored
  • Small Business Briefings
  • Commission Meeting Set for
    March 31

  • Statewide Podcasts
  • Teen Click It or Ticket Campaign
  • TN Online
  • Small Hr


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March 14, 2011

Here's our roundup of Texas Department of Transportation news and events. If you have any questions, comments or just want to know more about something you read here, send a message to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.

TxDOT Crews Helped Battle West Texas Wildfires

TxDOT Crews Helped Battle West Texas Wildfires

When devastating wildfires ripped through West Texas in late February, TxDOT crews helped the Texas Forest Service and area fire departments battle the blazes that blackened about 120,000 acres, forced evacuations and destroyed dozens of homes from the Panhandle to the southern plains.

Wind-whipped fires, fueled by low humidity and the heavy underbrush of last year's wet summer, caused significant fire danger, primarily in the Childress and Amarillo districts. TxDOT crews responded with motor graders and bulldozers to help extinguish and block the fires from spreading. Most of the 120 maintenance employees in the Childress district worked in shifts for three days – operating equipment, building fireguards and transporting fuel and water. Seventy-five employees alone concentrated their efforts in Motley County, where 12 fires broke out in a 36-hour time period, charring 41,000 acres. Other districts supplied extra equipment and manpower to fight the fast moving fires.

TxDOT's rapid response to the wildfires was one more demonstration of the department's OneDOT commitment to maximizing resources to ensure safe and efficient roadways throughout the state.

Wildfires destroyed 41,000 acres in Motley County

Watch crews containing wildfire in Motley County

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Steve Simmons to be Honored

TxDOT Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons will be honored with an Academy of Distinguished Civil & Environmental Engineering Award from the University of Houston Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering in coordination with its Industrial Advisory Board. Membership in the academy is one of the highest recognitions bestowed to outstanding alumni. Simmons graduated from the University of Houston in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering. The 28-year-plus TxDOT veteran recently announced he will retire from the agency, effective Aug. 31, 2011.

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Small Business Briefings

TxDOT's Business Outreach and Program Services office conducts briefings around the state for small, minority- and women-owned businesses, providing contract opportunities and information on how to do business with TxDOT and the state. The briefings include general industry sessions and specific information doing business in the construction, goods and services, information technology and professional engineering service industries.

Breakout sessions cover small and minority-owned business certifications, resources for business development, marketing for state contracts and information on TxDOT projects. Each briefing also includes a contracting opportunity fair and industry networking session.

For more information»

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Commission Meeting Set for March 31

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene at 9 a.m. on March 31 for its monthly meeting. The Commission will consider accepting the final 2030 Committee Report assessing the cost of the state's transportation system needs and designating SH 99 (Grand Parkway) from I-45 to US 59 in Harris and Montgomery counties as a toll project on the state highway system. The Commission also will discuss a staff update on CDA implementation.The Commission will not conduct workshop sessions in March, April or May.

Read the agenda for the meeting »

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Statewide Podcasts

TxDOT produces a weekly Statewide Podcast to keep you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new podcast episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website, www.txdot.gov. In this week's episode, we talk with Gary Golden, lead futurist with Future Think, an innovation firm based in New York City, about how to eliminate the fossil-fuel bottleneck in transportation. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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Teen Click It or Ticket Campaign

Teen drivers in Texas have the highest incidence of unbuckled fatalities. In 2009, 53 percent of the teen drivers and passengers ages 15-20 killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes were not wearing their safety belts at the time of the crash. TxDOT recently launched a public awareness campaign to remind teen drivers that safety belt use is the single most effective way to protect drivers and passengers and to reduce fatalities in motor vehicle crashes. High schools across the state will receive materials to display on their campus that encourage teen drivers to buckle up and to visit www.SeatBeltsRock.com

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TN Online

Read the latest issue of TN, TxDOT's bimonthly newsleters for employees

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