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

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

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  • Maintain a safe system
  • Address congestion
  • Connect Texas communities
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March 18, 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 AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.


Yearlong Truck Discount Promotes Central Texas Tollways

Trucks on IH-35
Discounted tolls aimed at reducing truck traffic on I-35 through Austin

TxDOT will reduce truck tolls on Central Texas roadways for an entire year — April 1 through March 30, 2014 — to encourage truckers to move off I-35 in the Austin area and relieve traffic congestion. Truck drivers who opt to travel nonstop on SH 130, Segments 1-6, or SH 45SE between Georgetown and Seguin will pay the passenger vehicle (two-axle) toll rate. That’s a 67-percent discount for trucks with four axles or more. This latest discount follows a monthlong incentive that ended March 3. During that time, truck traffic on SH 130 and SH 45SE increased about 50 percent over last year. The new discount is subject to approval by the Texas Transportation Commission later this month.

“This is exactly the kind of innovative approach to transportation that we need in Texas right now,” said state Sen. Robert Nichols, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. “I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot and how we might be able to replicate it in other parts of the state.”

Read more »

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Marble Falls Bridge Demolished

Be Smart. Drive Smart
A series of explosions brings down the US 281 bridge over Lake Marble Falls.
Photo by Michael Amador for TxDOT

More than 3,000 spectators gathered early Sunday morning to watch the demolition of the US 281 bridge over Lake Marble Falls. Within seconds, a series of scheduled blasts felled the 600 feet of steel that had spanned the Colorado River in Marble Falls for 77 years. The implosion was part of a $30 million TxDOT project to replace the four-lane bridge with two side-by-side, two-lane bridges with shoulders and sidewalks. The northbound bridge opened in December and will have two-way traffic until the southbound bridge is built along the path of the old bridge. The project is slated for completion in 2014. Steel remnants of the old bridge will be recycled and made into art beautification projects for the city of Marble Falls.

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Roadway Safety Urged in Oil, Gas Boom Areas

Be Smart. Drive Smart

TxDOT recently launched a public education initiative urging motorists to “Be Safe. Drive Smart.” in high-traffic oil and gas production areas throughout the state. While the increase in energy exploration has created new economic opportunities, it also has put more vehicles on roadways in production areas, creating new hazards for drivers who might not be accustomed to the additional traffic. Preliminary TxDOT reports indicate that crashes and traffic fatalities in 2012 increased significantly in some of the state’s energy production areas.

Read more »

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Transportation Commission to Meet
March 28

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene for its regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 28, at 125 E. 11th Street in Austin. The Commission will consider issuing a request for qualifications for the development, design, construction, financing, maintenance and operation of the SH 288 Toll Lanes Project in Brazoria and Harris counties and approving updates to the 2013 Unified Transportation Program.

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Texas Highways: Wild & Wonderful

Texas Highways

The April issue of Texas Highways is your primer for the state’s annual burst of colorful wildflowers. This “flower-ful” issue takes readers on four popular wildflower tours from Utopia to Blooming Grove. Also, visit the Old Settler’s Music Festival on the banks of Onion Creek near Austin; stop for a while at an old-fashioned soda fountain in Uvalde; and try “desert first” in the Big Bend region. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

Learn how to get a free trial issue»

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New TxDOT Leadership Appointments

Texas Highways Texas Highways
Herbert Bickley Paul Montgomery

TxDOT recently announced two key leadership appointments. Paul Montgomery, P.E., is the new Paris District Engineer, and Herbert Bickley, P.E., is the new Abilene District Engineer. Montgomery has been with TxDOT for 25 years, most recently serving as director of maintenance in the Lufkin District. Bickley, a 30-year TxDOT veteran, most recently served as the Lufkin District’s director of transportation operations. Both hold bachelor’s degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Ten Communities Win Landscape Awards

A $2 million TxDOT grant will be shared among 10 communities for landscaping projects along local highways. The communities ─ Collinsville, Port Aransas, Graham, Katy, Alvin, Copperas Cove, Grapevine, Longview, Midland and Austin ─ are first place winners of the 2013 Governor's Community Achievement Awards, which were recently announced by Keep Texas Beautiful. The annual awards recognize the best grassroots environmental and beautification programs in the state.

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Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving

Content Inline

Spring — March 1 through May 31 — marks the most dangerous season on Texas roadways for alcohol-related traffic crashes. Approximately one out of three people killed on Texas roadways in 2011 was killed in an alcohol-related collision, with 26 percent occurring in the spring. State law makes it illegal for someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher to drive a vehicle. However, drivers can be arrested with a BAC below .08 when a law enforcement officer has probable cause, based on the driver's behavior. That’s why TxDOT is reminding motorists to line up a P.A.S.S. (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) because even buzzed driving is drunk driving. To find a safe ride home, visit: www.soberrides.org.


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TxDOT Podcast: Wesley Smith, Powering Electric Vehicles

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 Wesley Smith, CEO of Wireless Advance Vehicle Electrification (WAVE), about how his company is taking a unique approach to powering electric vehicles. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast

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