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

  • Plan to Attend the 2013 Texas Transportation Forum!
  • TxDOT Podcast: State Rep. Drew Darby
  • TxDOT Crews Respond to Snow, Ice
  • Winter Weather Car Check
  • Transportation Commission Set to Meet Jan. 31
  • New Ward County Safety Rest Areas Dedicated
  • Driving Safely Through I-35 Construction
  • Texas Highways: The Big Bend Issue
  • TxDOT Maritime Division Director Named
  • Ferry Art Contest Winners Announced
  • Rail Conference Slated for January
  • TN Online
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January 14, 2013

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

Plan to Attend the 2013 Texas Transportation Forum!

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Make plans to attend the 8th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, set for Feb. 17-19 at the Hilton Austin. Transportation experts, government leaders and others will gather at the Forum to discuss innovative ways to approach future challenges, including the Panama Canal expansion, the state's growing energy opportunities and how technology is reshaping transportation options.

Speakers include Harvey Rosenblum, executive vice president and director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas; Silvia Marucci, Panama Canal Authority; Harris County Judge Ed Emmett; U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; State Sen. Robert Nichols, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, and other transportation leaders. Another highlight of the Forum will be the first Texas visit of the Google self-driving car. Google team members will be on hand to talk with attendees about the vehicle and the future of driving. Reserve your hotel room and register now for your seat at the table. We hope to see you in Austin next month!

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TxDOT Podcast: State Rep. Drew Darby

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State Rep. Drew Darby

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,

The 83rd Texas Legislature opened for a 140-day session last week, and funding for all types of government agencies and programs are at issue. As Texas' population continues to grow, funding for transportation infrastructure will likely be a hot topic for legislative discussion. In this week's podcast, we talk with State Rep. Drew Darby of San Angelo to get his thoughts about the session. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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TxDOT Crews Respond to Snow, Ice

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When winter storms roar through Texas, leaving ice-covered roads in their wake, TxDOT crews quickly mobilize to clear roads, bridges and overpasses. Ensuring the state highway system remains safe for motorists is our first priority. And if more freezing weather affects Texas in coming weeks, TxDOT is prepared to maintain ice-free roadways throughout the state. For a firsthand look at the work involved, take this snowplow ride-along with Wichita Falls District maintenance technician Moses Gonzales as he cleared Kell Freeway/US 82/277 on Christmas Day.

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Winter Weather Car Check

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No one wants to break down in any season but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition. Tips:

  • Visit your mechanic for a tune-up or other routine maintenance.
  • Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for any leaks, bad hoses or other needed part repairs or replacements.
  • If you plan to use snow tires, have them installed now.

For more winter weather safe driving tips »

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Transportation Commission Set to Meet Jan. 31

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene at 9 a.m., Thursday, Jan. 31 for its regular monthly meeting at 125 E. 11th Street in Austin. The Commission will consider awarding federal and state grant funding for capital improvement projects at various airports and approving updates to the 2013 Unified Transportation Plan.

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New Ward County Safety Rest Areas Dedicated

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A World War II-era mock plane fuselage is featured at the two safety rest areas.

TxDOT's new Ward County Safety Rest areas on I-20 between Pyote and Monahans were recently dedicated. The two partner rest areas, located on the eastbound and westbound lanes of the interstate, are designed with the nearby Rattlesnake Bomber Base (the Word War II-era Pyote Army Air Field training station) in mind and feature displays on the history of the base, including mock plane fuselages. 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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Driving Safely Through I-35 Construction

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Navigating construction areas can be difficult and risky for drivers and workers. As TxDOT moves forward with one of its largest construction projects in department history — expanding more than 100 miles of I-35 in Central Texas — educating the public on the necessity of driving safely through work zones is a top priority. To better inform Texans about the extensive construction on I-35, TxDOT has added a new level to its DriveTexas mapping tool: a dynamic traffic map that provides real-time information on closures affecting the interstate. Users can find information regarding closures on main lanes, frontage roads, ramps and cross streets, as well as real-time speeds. The map features full details on each closure, active and upcoming, as well as one-click zoom capability. To access the map here.

Read more »

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As daylight fades into dusk, hiker Heather Ainsworth-Dobbins peers out over Big Bend National Park's Elephant Tusk formation. Photo ©Laurence Parent.

Texas Highways: The Big Bend Issue

The February issue of Texas Highways is all about the Big Bend, including "places to stay, hike, eat, sleep, wander, drive, camp, and ponder the meaning of life." The official travel magazine of Texas takes readers on a hiking adventure to the Chisos high country and also features articles on the culture and scenery of Marfa, Cibolo Creek Ranch and the McDonald Observatory. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

Learn how to get a free trial issue »

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Herman Deutsch

TxDOT Maritime Division Director Named

Herman Deutsch is the new TxDOT Maritime Division director, responsible for coordinating with Texas ports, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, marine-intermodal related projects and representing department interests with maritime stakeholders. Deutsch has been involved in the transportation industry for more than 23 years in the private and public sectors. He is a certified professional port manager and holds bachelor's degrees in port administration and civil engineering and a master's degree in engineering-planning.

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Ferry Art Contest Winners Announced

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Ferry Art Contest winners include St. Joe's First Light by John Olvey.

TxDOT's Third Annual Port Aransas Ferry Art Contest produced 10 winners, including six adult and four youth artists. The artwork will be reproduced, enlarged and displayed on the sides of the William Burnett, the Mark Goode and the J.C. Dingwall ferry vessels for two years.

The winning artwork and artists in the adult division are: The Lighthouse and Fresh Bait by Lee Ricks; Channel Dreams by Xavier Benites; Three Pelicans by Buddy Turk; St. Joe's First Light by John Olvey; and Mustang Island, Gulls and Sea Oats by Mary Lib Thornhill. In the 18-and-under youth division, winners are: A Wavy Day in Port A by Alexandra Paulsen; Two to Tango by Chase Solimine; Sunset Jump by Noah Swindle; and Beautiful but Dangerous by Gabriella N. Garcia.

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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. 24-25, 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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TN Online

Read the latest issue of TN, TxDOT's bimonthly newsletter for employees »

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