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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

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  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Excellence
  • Service

In this issue

  • Transportation Commission Names Grand Parkway Developer
  • Funding Accelerates US 290 Houston Projects
  • Lighting the Neches River Bridge
  • Buckle Up Kids the Safe Way
  • TxDOT to Award Beautification Funds
  • I-35 Travel Information Survey
  • Win Gas Cards in LBJ Express Toll Name Contest
  • Talk. Text. Crash.
  • TxDOT Podcast: Nevada, Proving Ground for the Self-Driving Car
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October 1, 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.

Transportation Commission Names Grand Parkway Developer

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The Texas Transportation Commission honored former Commissioner Ned Holmes during its recent meeting in The Woodlands. Pictured: (left to right) Jeff Austin III, William Meadows, Ted Houghton, Ned Holmes, Fred Underwood and Jeff Moseley.

The Texas Transportation Commission has selected developer Zachry-Odebrecht Parkway Builders for the 37-mile Grand Parkway (SH 99) project in the Houston metropolitan area.  The estimated $1.04 billion contract includes the development, design, construction and maintenance of Segments F1, F2 and G of the new toll road in Harris and Montgomery counties. The Commission also approved a toll equity loan agreement for the Grand Parkway Transportation Corporation to finance the project  during its Sept. 27 regular monthly meeting in The Woodlands. The Commission will hold its Oct. 25 meeting in Austin and its Nov. 15 meeting in Arlington.

The Commission also honored former Commissioner Ned Holmes who had served since 2007 and recently stepped down. Holmes’ leadership was instrumental in TxDOT and Harris County forming a partnership that accelerated the planning, development, funding and execution of the Grand Parkway project to ensure the region’s continued mobility and economic vitality. Under his stewardship, the agency moved forward on key transportation projects across the state, including the I-35 expansion in Central Texas, I-69 Texas, the DFW Connector and improvements to US 290 and SH 288 in the Houston region.

Read more »

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Funding Accelerates US 290 Houston Projects

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Traffic at US 290 and I-610 in Houston.

Texans can expect to get some much-needed traffic relief on US 290 in Houston — one of the top 25 of the state’s 100 Most Congested Roads. Thanks to $168 million in funding provided by state legislators and part of the additional $2 billion TxDOT identified earlier this year, some key construction projects along US 290 in Houston will be completed up to two decades earlier than originally scheduled. All US 290 projects between I-610 and SH 99 (Grand Parkway) will be under construction by the middle of 2014. Not only will sections of the roadway be ready 20 years ahead of schedule, the improvements could save drivers 20 minutes in commute time during peak hours. Follow the US 290 program at www.my290.com or onTwitter. 

Read more »

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Lighting the Neches River Bridge

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The 60-year-old Neches River Bridge on I-10 in Beaumont will be replaced with a $59 million segmental bridge. Photo by Marc Shepherd.

Crews recently installed six, new high-mast lights for the Neches River Bridge on I-10 in Beaumont. The structure, also known as the Purple Heart Memorial Bridge, will be replaced beginning this fall. Our short video shows the process of lifting a 175-foot metal pole that will help light one of the area's most important bridges.

Watch »

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Buckle Up Kids the Safe Way

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Buckle up your kids, the right way. That's the message TxDOT is sending parents via its Save Me With a Seat campaign. Fifty-two of Texas children who died in vehicle crashes last year were not buckled into safety seats, and three out of four children are not buckled up correctly. If a child passenger younger than eight years old (unless taller than 4 feet, 9 inches) is not buckled up or is buckled incorrectly, the driver will be ticketed. If you're not sure your child is properly secured, you can call their office and make an appointment to get checked out.

Watch how to buckle 'em right »

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TxDOT to Award Beautification Funds

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Transportation Enhancement Program funds helped restore the circa 1853 Port Isabel Lighthouse and lighthouse keeper's cottage (pictured) for use as a visitor's center and living history museum.

TxDOT is accepting applications for the federally-funded Transportation Enhancement Program to aid communities across the state. Up to $70 million is available to fund the improvement of areas in communities that are associated with transportation. Such projects include pedestrian and bicycle trails, the rehabilitation of historic railroad facilities, landscaping along roadways and preventative care to protect water resources from highway runoff.  Eligible projects must demonstrate a relationship to the surface transportation system. Submissions will be accepted until 5 p.m. CST on Nov. 16. Applications should be submitted to local TxDOT district offices.

Read more »

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I-35 Travel Information Survey

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If you travel the nearly 100 miles of I-35 in Central Texas currently under construction, we'd like to hear from you. The design process for the I-35 expansion included input from citizen planners to help guide the design and construction. However, we still need your help to ensure that we're providing the travel information you need. This survey is being conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on behalf of TxDOT.

Read more about the I-35 project »

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Win Gas Cards in LBJ Express Toll Name Contest

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Help name the new LBJ Express toll lanes going up in Tarrant and Dallas counties and win gas cards worth thousands of dollars in the NameTheLanes.com contest. The grand prize is $2,500, but there are several secondary prizes worth $1,000, $500 and 10 prizes of $100. The new system upgrades existing lanes and adds new lanes on high-traffic sections of LBJ in Dallas County and along I-820 and SH 121/183 in Tarrant County. The existing lanes will remain non-tolled, but the new lanes will offer drivers a variable-rate toll option that changes due to demand and traffic flow. The $2.7 billion project is being built under a comprehensive development agreement between TxDOT and the LBJ Infrastructure Group.  It is slated for completion in late 2015. The contest ends Nov. 4. Follow the project's progress on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.

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Talk. Text. Crash.

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With distracted driving causing thousands of crashes a year, TxDOT and its safety partners around the state urge drivers to refrain from cell phone use and texting while on the road. National Highway Safety Administration statistics show that more than 81,000 crashes in 2011 involved distraction in a vehicle, driver inattention or cell phone use, and 361 of these crashes were fatal. Overall, nearly one in four crashes in Texas involves driver distraction.

Read more »

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TxDOT Podcast: Nevada, Proving Ground for the Self-Driving Car

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 Tom Jacobs, chief public information officer for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles,  about an experimental self-driving car created by Google that has been crisscrossing that state — and chances are that one day, and probably sooner rather than later, they'll be everywhere. (This episode originally aired in May 2012.) Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »


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