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

In this issue

  • Queen Isabella Lanes to Island Open on Weekends
  • Transportation Commission Meeting Set for July 28
  • Design a Litterbag Contest Winner
  • Lumberton US 69 Restriping Project
  • Retirement Dinner for Saenz, Simmons and Whitworth
  • Buckle Up in Your Truck Campaign

  • Statewide Podcasts

  • Small Hr


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TxDOT Goals

  1. Prepare for the future
  2. Enhance safety
  3. Maintain the transportation system
  4. Relieve congestion
  5. Enhance connectivity
  6. Work with our partners to
    identify funding strategies

Monday, July 18, 2011

Editor's Note: 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.

Queen Isabella Lanes to Island Open on Weekends

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Ongoing maintenance work on the two-mile Queen Isabella Memorial Bridge has narrowed the causeway to one lane heading to South Padre Island for several months, causing significant traffic delays for motorists crossing the only road connecting the island and the mainland. To ease congestion for summer beachgoers, TxDOT has agreed to clear all equipment from the causeway and open all lanes for the remaining weekends of the summer.

The equipment will be removed around noon on Fridays and returned the following Monday morning. The process will cause some delay in the project, but it is still expected to be completed in September. The maintenance project, which started in August 2010, consists of removing rust, repairing corroded areas and repainting the metal beams that support the highest point of the bridge. The work is part of a $4 million causeway rehabilitation project.

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Transportation Commission Meeting Set for July 28

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene for its next regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, July 28. The meeting will be held at 200 East Riverside Drive in Austin, while the Greer Building – TxDOT's headquarters and where the Commission usually meets – undergoes renovation. The Commission will not hold a workshop session this month.

The Commission will consider approving funding for the 2012 Highway Safety Plan and approving staff recommendations for pass-through financing proposals. The Commission also will discuss establishing eligibility and selection criteria for highway projects to be funded with Proposition 12 bond proceeds and will receive a staff update on the agency's modernization program.

Read the agenda »

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Design a Litterbag Contest Winner

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McKinney resident Jenifer Ostler won the Don't Mess with Texas (DMWT) 25th Anniversary litterbag design contest with her "Not in Our State" creation that features red, white and blue litter in the shape of Texas. Ostler, who was selected from 10 contest finalists, will have her design printed on 200,000 special-edition anniversary litterbags. A combination of nearly 300,000 online votes from the public and scores from a panel of judges determined the winner.

"I'm really excited," Ostler said. "I had all my friends and family voting. Being good to the environment is important, and I wanted to encourage people to do that."

Litterbags help keep trash off Texas roadways and are available for free at www.DontMessWithTexas.org. The special-edition litterbags will be printed and available in the fall, courtesy of contest partner A Bag's Life, a plastic bag recycling awareness campaign.

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Lumberton US 69 Restriping Project

TxDOT's Beaumont District is about to finish a project restriping a four-mile stretch of US 69 in Lumberton. The project will widen the stretch from three lanes to five lanes and is a temporary solution to traffic congestion. Because of limited funding and right of way, the district is using the existing pavement and converting the shoulders to travel lanes.

Eventually, TxDOT plans to convert the highway to a standard five-lane highway, complete with standard width lanes and curb and gutter. However, the $5 million price tag has put that project on hold for at least five years.

View the project in progress »

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Retirement Dinner for Saenz, Simmons and Whitworth

Make plans now to attend TxDOT's goodbye dinner honoring Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons and Chief Auditing Officer Owen Whitworth – all who will retire Aug. 31. The barbecue dinner for the longtime administrators is set for Aug. 17, 5:30-9:30 p.m., at the Texas Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane in Austin. Tickets are $25 per person.

For more information »

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Buckle Up in Your Truck Campaign

TxDOT recently launched the "Buckle Up in Your Truck" summer campaign to remind pickup truck drivers and their passengers about the importance of using seat belts. While seat belt use across the state is seeing record highs among people in cars, people in pickup trucks are still not using their seat belts regularly.

Safety officials attribute lower seat belt use among truck drivers and passengers to a false sense of security in larger vehicles and the incorrect belief that seat belts aren't necessary for short trips. One out of every two pickup truck drivers killed in a traffic crash was not buckled up, TxDOT statistics show.

"Pickup truck drivers and passengers tend to be younger and male, and they are not getting the message that seat belts save lives," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT's Traffic Operations Division director. "In fact, crashes involving pickup trucks can be particularly deadly because of the tendency for the trucks to roll over and for occupants to be thrown from the vehicles unless they are buckled up."

Read more »

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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 U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Corpus Christi), who serves on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, about reauthorization of the federal transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU). Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to podcast »

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