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

TxDOT Mission

Work with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas.

TxDOT Goals

  • Maintain a safe system
  • Address congestion
  • Connect Texas communities
  • Best in class state agency

TxDOT Values

  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Excellence
  • Service

In this issue

  • Commission Approves $2 Billion for Priority Projects Throughout the State
  • North Tarrant Express Picked for $415 Million Federal Loan
  • Remember to Buckle Up
  • Fort Worth Pedestrian Bridge Rising
  • Garza Set to Retire
  • Navarro County Safety Rest Areas Dedicated
  • Report a Litterer App
  • TxDOT Leadership Appointments
  • Check Road Conditions
  • TxDOT Podcast: Jim Dale, I-35 Mobility Coordinator
  • Small Hr


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April 30, 2012

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.

Commission Approves $2 Billion for Priority Projects Throughout the State

The Texas Transportation Commission convened April 26 for its regular monthly meeting and took the following actions: ·

  • Approved the allocation of an additional $2 billion in anticipated state and federal funding for high-priority projects across the state. TxDOT will work with partners to leverage more available funds and opportunities to address statewide connectivity needs.
  • Approved the allocation of $40 million to immediately address critical roadway repairs and maintenance related to energy industry activities.
  • Authorized the staff to advance two Houston projects ─ the SH 288 project, from US 59 to the Harris/Brazoria county line, and the US 290/Hempstead corridor, from I-610 to SH 99 (Grand Parkway.)
  • Authorized the issuance of a request for proposals to develop, design, construct and potentially maintain Segments F1, F2, and G of the Grand Parkway (SH 99) project in Harris and Montgomery counties.

Read more »

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North Tarrant Express Picked for $415 Million Federal Loan

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TThe U.S. Department of Transportation recently announced that the North Tarrant Express project will receive a $415 million federal loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act financing program. The Fort Worth project includes reconstructing sections of I-35W, building an interchange at I-35W and I-820 and adding managed toll lanes. The portions of I-35W slated for improvement currently rank 5th and 25th on the list of Texas’ most congested roadways. 

Read more »

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Remember to Buckle Up

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TxDOT kicks off its 11th annual “Click It or Ticket” safety belt awareness campaign at 10 a.m., Tuesday, May 1, at Auditorium Shores in central Austin. The event is designed to serve as a reminder that the annual law enforcement crackdown is about to begin ─ motorists who don’t buckle up will be fined. Beginning May 21 through June 3, including the Memorial Day weekend, law enforcement officials around the state will be working overtime ticketing motorists who are not buckled up. State law requires that every person in a vehicle be secured by a seat belt, whether riding in the front or back seat. Fines and court costs for failing to fasten seat belts can add up to $250 or more. Wearing a seat belt reduces the risk of fatal injury by 45 percent for car occupants and 60 percent for light-truck occupants.

Read more »

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Fort Worth Pedestrian Bridge Rising

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Cranes hoist arch beams for the Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge into place over the Trinity River. Photo courtesy of Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

With Fort Worth residents looking on, construction crews recently positioned two 163-foot supporting arch beams for the Phyllis J. Tilley Memorial Bridge over the Trinity River. When completed in August, the 364-foot pedestrian and bicycle bridge will connect Trinity Trails with the city’s downtown. Named for the late community advocate and designed by Freese and Nichols, Inc. and Boston architect Miguel Rosales, the structure is the first arch-supported, stress-ribbon bridge of its kind in the United States. The design features a minimalist span and a simple, elegant supporting arch. The $3 million project is being funded through several sources, including federal grants administered by TxDOT, the city of Fort Worth and private donations..

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Toribio Garza Jr.

Garza Set to Retire

Culminating a distinguished 26-year TxDOT career, Maintenance Division Director Toribio Garza Jr. will retire, effective May 31. Head of the division since 2009, Garza previously served as division deputy director and Pharr District director of maintenance. He holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and was licensed as a professional engineer in 1991.


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Navarro County Safety Rest Areas Dedicated

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A life-size sculpture of a buffalo greets visitors at each Navarro County Safety Rest Area.

TxDOT’s new Navarro County Safety Rest areas on I-45 near Corsicana were recently dedicated. The two partner rest areas, located on the southbound and northbound lanes of the interstate, replace open-air rest areas built in the early1960s.  In addition to indoor and outdoor restroom facilities and vending areas, they feature interpretive displays about the history of the county and the surrounding environment. The $14.7 million project to replace the roadside stops was funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In recent years, TxDOT has revamped many of the state's safety rest areas to provide more services and a safer experience for Texas travelers.

Read more about TxDOT’s safety rest areas »

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Report a Litterer App

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If you’re interested in keeping Texas roads litter-free, check out the Don’t Mess with Texas (DMWT) Report a Litterer app. The new free smartphone app gives Texans a way to actively report litter and litterbugs who are messing with our roadways. (Warning: Do not use this app while driving.) Simply open the app, tap the type of litter you just saw and use the optional voice recording function to record the offender’s license plate and vehicle information for reporting at a later time at www.DontMessWithTexas.org. Reported litterers will receive a letter urging them not to toss trash on our roads and a DMWT litterbag. The app is available for both iOS (Apple) and Android (Google) smartphone platforms.

Read more »

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TxDOT Leadership Appointments

TxDOT administration recently announced some new leadership appointments. Ed Pensock Jr. is director of the Strategic Project Division, responsible for the development, procurement and implementation of strategic projects. Pensock has been with TxDOT since 1990, most recently as director of corridor planning and development and as interim of the Texas Turnpike Authority, which has evolved into the Strategic Projects Division.

Tim Jennings is director of the Information Technology Strategy Office. Tim has worked in the TxDOT information technology support area for more than 21 years and, most recently, was director of the Business Solutions Delivery and Support Services Section of the Technology Services Division.

Andy Slack is director of the Information Technology Customer Relations Office, responsible for establishing the newly formed office and ensuring that consistent customer service levels and agency business/technology needs are provided. Slack joins the agency with a 30-year career in Texas state and local government, both as a state agency executive and with global firms that provide services to the public sector.

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Check Road Conditions

If you’re planning a road trip, remember that road conditions can change quickly due to the weather, construction and natural disasters.  TxDOT keeps you up-to-date on road conditions in your area and throughout the state.  Call (800) 452-9292 for current road conditions, or view online.

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TxDOT Podcast: Jim Dale, I-35 Mobility Coordinator

The weekly TxDOT Podcast keeps you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website, www.txdot.gov.

In this week’s episode, we talk with I-35 Mobility Coordinator Jim Dale about efforts to enhance communications about the I-35 corridor expansion project with motorists. (This episode originally aired in December 2011.) Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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All inquiries may be directed to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.