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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

  • Transportation Commission Names Dallas Horseshoe Project Developer
  • TxDOT Launches Natural Gas Pilot Fleet Program
  • Thanksgiving: Travel Safely
  • TxDOT Podcast: Know When to Pass
  • Texas Highways: Dazzling Displays
  • Lady Bird Johnson Inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor
  • Newest Section of Toll 49 Opens In Tyler
  • 2013 Texas Transportation Forum Set for Austin
  • Lubbock's Snowplow Mural
  • Rail Conference Slated for January
  • I-35 Travel Information Survey
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November 19, 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 Dallas Horseshoe Project Developer

The Texas Transportation Commission has selected Pegasus Link Constructors — a consortium of companies led by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure, Inc. and Fluor Enterprises, Inc. — as the developer for the Dallas Horseshoe Project. The approximately $798 million contract includes the development, design, construction and maintenance of the project to rebuild the I-35E and I-30 exchange in downtown Dallas, one of the state's most congested areas. Construction is expected to begin early next year and be completed in four years. The Commission made the selection during its Nov. 15 regular monthly meeting in Arlington. The Commission will hold its Dec. 13 meeting in Austin.

Read more »

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TxDOT Launches Natural Gas Pilot Fleet Program

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Texas Transportation Commissioner Bill Meadows fills up a new compressed natural gas truck in Irving.

TxDOT has launched a natural gas pilot fleet program to be more fuel efficient, save taxpayer dollars and improve air quality. The Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) Pilot Program will test alternative fuel vehicles to perform daily operations. The program, which will begin with the purchase of four CNG Ford F250 trucks, is designed to help TxDOT leaders determine availability of natural gas vehicles and fuel stations, and whether operationally, a fleet powered by natural gas meets the agency's needs. TxDOT will test the new natural gas trucks in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, where cities like Irving support alternative fuel options.

Read more »

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Thanksgiving: Travel Safely

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A dynamic message sign on South Loop 289 in Lubbock displays this year's number of fatalities on Texas roadways.

Many Texans will travel by car this Thanksgiving, and TxDOT wants everyone to arrive safely at their destinations by following a few simple rules of the road: pay attention; buckle seatbelts; put the phone away; left lane for passing only; never drink and drive; and obey all traffic laws. In an effort to educate drivers about the importance of driving safely, TxDOT has begun displaying the number of fatalities to date on dynamic message signs along state highways. So far this year there have been 2,545 fatalities on Texas roads. Each month, this number is updated and drivers can see it along with a message on how to drive safely.

Read more about TxDOT's safety initiatives »

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TxDOT Podcast: Know When to Pass

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TxDOT's "Know When to Pass" truck is traveling the state to increase awareness of the consequences of game-day drinking and driving.

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.

The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest not just in terms of travelers taking to the highways, but it's also noteworthy for something else: football. Unfortunately, that also means an increase in crashes involving alcohol-impaired motorists. In this week's podcast, we talk with TxDOT Traffic Safety Section Director Terry Pence about the department's "Know When to Pass" campaign that encourages fans to think ahead on game day and either pass on the alcohol or be prepared to pass their keys. (This episode originally aired in November 2011.) Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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The Queen Anne-style Burnett home was part of last year's Houston Heights Holiday Home Tour. Photo by J. Griffis Smith.

Texas Highways: Dazzling Displays

The December issue of Texas Highways features articles about Texas during the Christmas holidays. The official travel magazine of Texas takes readers on a festive tour of the historic Houston Heights neighborhood; Port Aransas during the off-season; a holiday homecoming in Wichita Falls; and the latest trends on the Texas restaurant scene. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

Learn how to get a free trial issue »

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Lady Bird Johnson Inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor

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Lady Bird Johnson's Hall of Honor plaque.

Lady Bird Johnson was recently inducted into the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor. The former first lady was recognized for her vision and commitment to the beautification of roadsides throughout Texas and the nation. Johnson made improving the aesthetic appeal of highways her major initiative as first lady of the United States by promoting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965, which was nicknamed "Lady Bird's Bill." The Hall of Honor is located in the main conference room in Texas A&M Transportation Institute's Gibb Gilchrist building in the Texas A&M University Research Park in College Station. TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson and former Executive Director Amadeo Saenz Jr. participated in the induction.

Read more »

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Newest Section of Toll 49 Opens In Tyler

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State and local officials officially open Segment 3A of Toll 49 in Tyler.

TxDOT and local officials recently celebrated the opening of Segment 3A of Toll 49 in Tyler with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. The new six-mile stretch connects SH 31 west of Tyler with SH 110 in Whitehouse and cuts commute time from 30 minutes to around 12 minutes. Texas Transportation Commissioner Jeff Austin III encouraged the public to "drive it and see how much time it can save." The newest segment will be toll-free until Dec. 3. Segment 3A is the latest section of Toll 49 to open. Segment 3B, which will connect SH 31 and I-20, is under construction by the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is slated to open next year.

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2013 Texas Transportation Forum Set for Austin

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Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, set for Feb. 17-19, 2013 at the Hilton Austin. The annual event assembles local, regional and state leaders with national experts to discuss timely transportation issues critical to the safety and efficient movement of people and goods across the state.

Engineers attending the Forum can earn professional development hours. Find out more here. Reserve your hotel room and register online now. Register by Dec. 14 and receive a discounted registration rate. We hope to see you in Austin in 2013!

Register now »

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Lubbock's Snowplow Mural

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Southeast Lubbock Maintenance crew member Clint Penny helps fifth grader Ty Marshall leave his thumbprint on the snowplow.

TxDOT's Lubbock District recently teamed up with Lubbock Cooper Independent School District's West Elementary School to paint a mural on a snowplow that will be used during this year's winter weather operations. Students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade painted their hands red, white and blue and stamped their handprints into the outline of the flag of the Lone Star State. The art project was a creative way to teach students about the importance of road safety.

Read more about snowplow safety »

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Rail Conference Slated for January

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The future of regional freight and passenger rail will be among the topics explored at the 9th Annual Southwestern Rail Conference, set for Jan. 25-25, in the Grand Hall at historic Dallas Union Station. The only all-rail conference held each year in Texas is hosted by Texas Rail Advocates. Bill Glavin, director of TxDOT's Rail Division, will be among the featured speakers. Registration is now open and a special discounted hotel rate is available at the Hyatt Regency - Downtown Dallas.

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