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

  • Commission Workshop, Meeting Set for Sept. 29-30
  • Heavy Traffic, Orange Barrels Ahead for Texas-Oklahoma Game Travel
  • SH 334 Bridge Closure
  • New Internal Customer Feedback Tracking System Launches Oct. 1st
  • 2011 Transportation Forum Registration Open!
  • I-35 Groundbreaking
  • Project Management Office Formed
  • Statewide Podcasts
  • Small Hr


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Monday, September 27, 2010

Here's our round up of Texas Department of Transportation news and events. If you have any questions, comments, or just want to know more about something you read in here, send a message to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.

Commission Workshop, Meeting Set for Sept. 29-30

Texas Transportation Commission

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene this week for its monthly workshop and meeting on Sept. 29-30. On Sept. 29, the Commission will conduct its workshop beginning at 1:30 p.m. to discuss various items, including an update from the Restructuring Council.

The Commission will conduct its meeting at 9:00 a.m. on Sept. 30 to consider action on several items, including a proposal for leasing department right-of-way for a low carbon-emitting freight transportation facility. The procurement process would allow the highest priority for a facility that reduces congestion on the state highway system and reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

To watch Wednesday’s workshop and/or Thursday’s meeting, click the banner on the www.TxDOT.gov home page.

Read the agendas for this week's sessions »

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Heavy Traffic, Orange Barrels Ahead for Texas-Oklahoma Game Travel

Construction Zones

Thousands of football fans will converge on north Texas this weekend for the annual Texas-Oklahoma game on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. in the Cotton Bowl, and transportation officials in both states are urging motorists to use caution navigating heavy traffic and active construction zones. TxDOT and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation have no lane closures planned between Oklahoma City and Austin during peak travel periods, however a portion of southbound I-35 north of the Austin area will be reduced to one lane beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday, October 3.

“No one likes road delays any more than they like game delays. Motorists should plan their trip in advance and keep up to date on highway conditions at www.my35.org,” said Amadeo Saenz, TxDOT executive director. “In addition, due to our efforts to expand I-35 to six lanes through central Texas, motorists should use extra caution in our active work zones and reduce distractions from the task at hand - driving to the Metroplex safely.”

To ease the flow of traffic through the construction zones south of Waco and south of Hillsboro on I-35, active construction will be limited, and contractors are prohibited from closing lanes or ramps due to construction throughout Texas-OU weekend.

Highway conditions and safety information will be available to motorists in a variety of formats:

For Oklahoma traffic advisory information, call 1-888-425-2385. On twitter, follow @OKDOT.

For Texas road conditions, or www.my35.org, or call the TxDOT road conditions line at 1-800-452-9292. Each TxDOT district will keep their twitter feed updated with the latest highway conditions throughout the weekend. Follow @TxDOT for statewide information, or visit for a list of district twitter feeds.

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SH 334 Bridge Closure

The SH 334 bridge between Seven Points and Gun Barrel City in the Tyler District was closed on September 15, 2010 when a bridge column was struck by a heavy barge. When the public learned of the closure, they turned to TxDOT’s Facebook for regular updates as the bridge was inspected, repaired and reopened on September 21.

A bridge closure hotline number and two short videos of the bridge damage and closure were quickly posted on Facebook on September 15, drawing 1,000 views in the first four hours, with an average of one view every 17 seconds. In the process, our Facebook page gained 157 new Facebook fans. This online engagement through our FB page helped the public know they have a voice and TxDOT is listening and cares.

Read more » Back to top

New Internal Customer Feedback Tracking System Launches Oct. 1st

Effective October 1st, TxDOT will implement a new internal software application that will allow the department to easily record and track inquiries it receives from the public and its transportation partners.

The system is called Customer Relationship and Feedback Tracking (CRAFT), which records and tracks citizen comments—not just complaints—that TxDOT received directly from e-mail, its website, phone calls, and letters. The department has spent the summer fine-tuning the system and training employees how to use it.
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2011 Transportation Forum Registration Open!

Registration is now open for the 2011 Texas Transportation Forum. The theme of the Forum is ‘Yeah, I Can Do Modern.’ It will be exciting, informative and will feature presentations on timely transportation topics from leading experts. Reserve your hotel room and register now for your seat at the table.

Register now »

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I-35 Groundbreaking

On September 21, TxDOT officials, Rep. Ralph Sheffield and several local officials broke ground on an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded I-35 expansion project, stretching for eight miles from north of Salado into Belton.

This marks another step toward the fulfillment of TxDOT’s commitment to expand I-35 to a minimum of six lanes from San Antonio to the 35E-35W split north of Hillsboro.

Construction of this stretch of highway is expected to take approximately 48 months, with completion anticipated in the fall of 2014. James Construction Group was awarded the project by TxDOT based on its low bid $106.9 million.

However, as Texas continues to grow over the coming decades, simply expanding I-35 to six lanes will not be sufficient. TxDOT has enlisted the help of four citizen-led I-35 Corridor Segment Committees and a corridor-wide I-35 Corridor Advisory Committee to develop locally-and regionally-focused solutions for current and future I-35 congestion.

Called “MY35,” this effort focuses on empowering citizens to make I-35 their highway, their way. Throughout the month of September, each segment committee held multiple public involvement workshops, designed to gather feedback on ideas developed by each committee before each segment's proposal is finalized. Members of the public unable to attend a workshop are welcome to learn more about this new approach to transportation planning, view all workshop materials and register their opinion through October 6 at www.my35.org.

The segment plans will likely be finalized late this year, with a formal presentation made to the Texas Transportation Commission in 2011. Once these citizen-driven committees present their plan for I-35 to the Commission, it will be up to TxDOT to carry those ideas forward through the state and federally mandated planning and review processes. Back to top

Project Management Office Formed

TxDOT’s new Project Management Office (PMO) was established on September 1, 2010 and is responsible for developing a departmental project scheduling policy that includes clear goals and objectives and logical timelines for implementation. The timelines will include reasonable intermediate milestones and criteria for performance measures, including benchmarks for delivering projects on time and on budget.

Objectives of the PMO are:

  • Provide an accurate status of the work on the department’s portfolio of projects.
  • Manage department resources more effectively.
  • Ensure that most resources are allocated a fairly even share of the work.
  • Determine the cost of developing projects accurately.
  • Assess the sharing of resources across districts.
  • Conduct various “what if?” analysis using enhanced data.

Maureen Wakeland is the new PMO interim director. Wakeland, who has more than 20 years experience with TxDOT, recently served as PMO interim co-director and provided leadership in planning and integrating the new scheduling and management software statewide for TxDOT's project development business activities.

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Statewide Podcasts

TxDOT produces a weekly Statewide Podcast to keep you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new podcast episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT web site, www.txdot.gov. In this week’s episode, we talk with Coby Chase, director of TxDOT’s Government and Public Affairs Division, for more on where the next federal transportation authorization bill stands, and what might be in it. Episodes are also available via iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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