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Texas Highways

Connecting Texans to What Matters Most – A Look Back at TxDOT's 100 Years

When you think of Texas roadways, you often think of TxDOT, but that immediate connection actually has a 100-year history.

In a corner of the Texas Capitol in 1917, the earliest incarnation of the Texas Department of Transportation was born as the Texas Highway Department. We not only had the responsibility of building and maintaining our state's roadways, but also were tasked with licensing drivers and registering automobiles (a responsibility now shared by our sister state agencies, the Texas Department of Public Safety and Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.) By the end of our first year, we had signed up nearly 200,000 Texas drivers!

It was October 1918, however, that marked the historical event that would forever define TxDOT's mission: The first official highway project began, creating a 20-mile road between Falfurrias and Encino, now known as US 281.

While our name, appearance and some responsibilities have evolved, one challenge has remained the same – there's a lot of ground to cover in Texas.

In the early 1900s, the goal was connecting farms and ranches to market; today, it's connecting Texans to what matters most – the people they love and the places they need to be – even in the midst of the worst congestion our state has ever seen. As monumental as the task may seem, TxDOT has built a century-long foundation to ensure our citizens and commerce get to their destinations.

To honor the past while anticipating the future, TxDOT will spend 2017 celebrating its century of service with a traveling exhibit, events and social media to highlight this ongoing milestone. Visit this page to see a timeline of our history; past and present photos; and a schedule of Centennial events that welcome your participation.

TxDOT looks forward to another 100 years of safety and service to Texans. Together, we've made our transportation system the envy of the nation. And together, we'll continue moving the people and goods that make Texas a great place to live, work and play.

Because even after 100 years, nothing is more important to TxDOT than connecting Texans to what matters most – the people they love and the places they need to be.


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