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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

  • Wider Highways With Shoulders Saving Lives
  • TxDOT Podcast: TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton, Roadway Widening Initiative
  • US 380 Widening in Denton County Under Way
  • Drive Friendly. Drive Safe.
  • Task Force on Texas' Energy Sector Roadway Needs Set To Meet in Midland
  • TxDOT History Online Exhibit
  • Texas Highways: True, Texas
  • Transportation Commission Meeting Set for Aug. 30
  • Newest Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry Makes Inaugural Voyage
  • Drive Texas: Real-Time Travel Information
  • Drive Clean Across Texas Sweepstakes
  • Small Hr


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August 13, 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.

Wider Highways With Shoulders Saving Lives

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Construction crews cut grooves in the shoulders of FM 344 near downtown Bullard in TxDOT’s Tyler District. The widening project was completed in the summer of 2011. Photo by Larry Krantz.

In recent years, TxDOT has widened and added shoulders to more than 1,000 miles of rural, two-lane highways ─ a major safety initiative that is reducing collisions and saving lives. A Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) analysis of three years of pre- and post-crash data shows that on 1,159 miles of widened roadways, there were 67 fatalities and 1,135 injuries, compared to 200 fatalities and 2,030 injuries prior to widening. TTI estimates that these projects could save up to 44 lives each year or 880 lives over 20 years.

"Safety is our top priority," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. "The agency's roadway widening initiative has been a tremendous success, both for increasing safety on Texas highways and potentially saving billions of dollars associated with fatal crashes and sustained injuries."

Read more »

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TxDOT Podcast: TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton, Roadway Widening Initiative

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John Barton

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 TxDOT Deputy Executive Director John Barton about the department's road-widening projects that have resulted in reduced crashes and fatalities. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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US 380 Widening in Denton County Under Way

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Community champions join TxDOT and Denton County officials at the recent US 380 ground-breaking ceremony.

The widening of an eight-mile stretch of US 380 in Denton County began with a recent ground-breaking ceremony, thanks to the efforts of local champion Eva Czerniak. The project had been in the planning stages for several years but delayed due to lack of funding. After Czerniak's daughter and her daughter's best friend were killed in a head-on collision on the two-lane roadway in November 2010, Czerniak campaigned TxDOT, local and state officials to expedite the project. This first phase of the project runs east from the Wise/Denton County line to FM 156 and is estimated to cost $36 million. The second phase will continue from FM 156 east to I-35 in Denton for an estimated $46.6 million.

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Drive Friendly. Drive Safe.

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TxDOT has updated its longstanding motto "Drive Friendly" to remind drivers that driving friendly is all about driving safely with its new campaign — "Drive Friendly. Drive Safe." The new campaign highlights some of the driving behaviors that continue to cause issues on our roadways: the need for drivers to pay attention to pedestrians, bicyclists and work zones, while also remembering to adjust their speed to the road conditions. Each year, Texas sees high numbers of crashes and fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists. In 2011, vehicles struck thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists resulting in 418 pedestrian fatalities and 45 bicyclist fatalities.

"As students return to school and throughout the year, remember to watch for pedestrians and bicyclists. There's no better time to remind drivers to get back-to-basics when it comes to safety on our roads," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Division director.

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Task Force on Texas' Energy Sector Roadway Needs Set To Meet in Midland

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TxDOT formed the Task Force on Texas' Energy Sector Roadway Needs to develop long-term funding strategies that address infrastructure concerns related to increased energy exploration and production. The task force will meet at 2 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 21, at the Midland Commemorative Air Force Museum, Commemorative Center Hangar, 9600 Wright Drive in Midland. An open house will follow at 4 p.m.

Learn more »

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TxDOT History Online Exhibit

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A circa-1938 photograph of brick-paved US 80, now US 180, between Weatherford and Mineral Wells in Parker County.

Interested in the history of the Texas Department of Transportation, back in the days when it was known as the Texas Highway Department? Check out this informative online exhibit, entitled From Pioneer Paths to Superhighways, at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

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Texas Highways: True, Texas

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A sunflower blooms in Bastrop State Park, where thousands of acres were lost to wildfires in the summer of 2011. Photo by J. Griffis Smith for Texas Highways.

The September issue of Texas Highways takes readers on its annual visit to True, Texas, where ingenuity, resilience, innovation and tradition come together in the "community of the imagination." The visit includes a trip to Bastrop State Park, where wildflowers and saplings have sprouted from the thousands of acres scorched by last year's wildfires. The official travel magazine of Texas also features articles on the variety of fall festivals across the state and the prehistoric puzzle of our Paleoindian sites. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

For a free trial issue »

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Transportation Commission Meeting Set for Aug. 30

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene at 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 30 for its regular monthly meeting at 200 East Riverside Drive, Room 1-A.1, in Austin. The Commission will discuss the federally-funded Transportation Enhancement Program and consider issuing a program call to identify candidate projects and adopting TxDOT's Fiscal Year 2014-15 Legislative Appropriations Request..

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Newest Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry Makes Inaugural Voyage

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The John W. Johnson makes it maiden voyage.

The John W. Johnson, the newest vessel in TxDOT's Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry System, recently made its maiden voyage. The ferry was dedicated in November and received the final stamp of approval needed from the U.S. Coast Guard to officially begin transporting passengers between Galveston and Port Bolivar in July. The sixth vessel in the Galveston fleet is named after the former chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission. The new 500-passenger, 70-vehicle ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each. In fiscal year 2011, the Galveston-Port Bolivar ferries carried more than 1.4 million vehicles and almost 4.4 million passengers. Find out about ferry wait times and more information at Twitter or Houston TranStar.

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Drive Texas: Real-Time Travel Information

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If you're planning that last road trip of the summer before the kids go back to school, remember that road conditions can change quickly due to the weather, construction and natural disasters. Drive Texas™, TxDOT's online map application provides travelers with real-time traffic conditions and weather feeds about the 80,000 miles of road maintained by the state, as well as links to other useful travel information. Travelers can plot a course by entering their start and end cities to view highway conditions along their route, and they can also locate TxDOT safety rest areas or Texas travel information centers. In select cities, travelers can also view images from traffic cameras, messages posted on dynamic message signs and other detailed information. The site also has a mobile-friendly component.
(Warning: Do not use this app while driving.)

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Drive Clean Across Texas Sweepstakes

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Don't miss your chance to win a new Ford Fusion Hybrid. Enter the Drive Clean Across Texas online sweepstakes today! The deadline for entering is Sept. 23. The statewide public outreach and education campaign encourages motorists to make cost-saving, no-cost and low-cost changes in their driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful vehicle emissions — a major contributor to air pollution. The low-emission 2012 Fusion Hybrid is donated by the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter.

To enter the sweepstakes »

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