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

  • TxDOT Warns Drivers: "Talk. Text. Crash."
  • DFW Connector Business Owner Task Force
  • Two New Administrative Appointments
  • Commission Meeting Set for Thursday
  • Unique Bridge Repair
  • Texas Trash-Off Set for April 2
  • Statewide Podcasts
  • Small Hr


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  1. Prepare for the future
  2. Enhance safety
  3. Maintain the transportation system
  4. Relieve congestion
  5. Enhance connectivity
  6. Work with our partners to identify funding strategies

March 28, 2011

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.

TxDOT Warns Drivers: "Talk. Text. Crash."

With technology at their fingertips, drivers are constantly faced with distractions such as talking or texting. April is National Distracted Driving Awareness Month and the Texas Department of Transportation is launching the Talk. Text. Crash. campaign to encourage Texans to put down their cell phones while driving.

The campaign officially launches at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday with an event on the south steps of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. A NASCAR driving simulator, provided by Nationwide Insurance, will be available for drivers to experience the impact distracted driving has on their driving abilities. The simulator will be located at 11th and Colorado (on the west side of the Capitol).

Distracted driving is becoming increasingly common and dangerous. In Texas, nearly one in four crashes involves driver distraction, according to TxDOT. In 2009 alone, more than 100,000 vehicles were involved in crashes where distraction in vehicle, driver inattention or cell phone use was cited. Sadly, 408 of those crashes were fatal.

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DFW Connector Business Owner Task Force


The DFW Connector Business Owner Task Force was formed eight months ago in response to inquiries from the business community about the massive project's progress and how construction would impact businesses along the project 8.4-mile route.

The task force meetings take place at 9:30 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month at Stacy’s Furniture in Grapevine. At each meeting, the DFW Connector Team gives a one-month look ahead at the project, distributes detailed detour maps and invites feedback. Response from the business community has been strong, said Selma Stocksill, project public information officer.

“It’s been very well received. There are usually 65 businesses represented at each meeting, and attendance is growing as word gets out,” Stocksill said. “It’s a two-way conversation, with lots of input from business owners. We have nothing to hide and want to be completely transparent about what’s going on with the project every step of the way.” 

The project, being built under a comprehensive development agreement (CDA) between TxDOT and NorthGate Constructors, is one of the largest transportation projects ever undertaken in North Texas and will improve mobility at the north end of the DFW International Airport.  Construction began in early 2010 and is slated for completion in 2014.

Read more »

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Two New Administrative Appointments

TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz has announced the appointments of Louis Carr as chief information officer and Dee Porter as chief human resources and administrative services officer, effective April 1, 2011. The two new executive positions were added to the department’s administration as part an ongoing modernization effort.

Carr, previously the chief information officer with the city of Arlington, will oversee the department’s technology and information systems (IS) development and will be responsible for the planning and development of all IS solutions. Porter, who served as chief operating officer with the Texas Department of State Health Services, will oversee human resources, procurement, recycling and occupational safety, motor carrier, public transportation and travel information functions.

Read more»

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Commission Meeting Set for Thursday

Content Inline

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene at 9 a.m. Thursday for its monthly meeting. The Commission will consider accepting the final 2030 Committee Report assessing the cost of the state’s transportation system needs; adopting proposed amendments to the outdoor advertising program; and designating SH 99 (Grand Parkway) from I-45 to US 59 in Harris and Montgomery counties as a toll project on the state highway system. The Commission also will discuss a staff update on CDA implementation.

The Commission will not conduct workshop sessions in March, April or May.

Read the agenda for the meeting »

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Unique Bridge Repair

Our Wichita Falls District recently made a unique repair at the FM 1763 bridge over US 287 in Wilbarger County. The bridge had been struck by an oversize load, and district engineers determined that a special fix – one that the district had never used before – was needed.

Watch how it was done »

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Texas Trash-Off Set for April 2


Fed up with roadside litter and fired up to do something about it, thousands of volunteers will fan out across the state on Saturday to participate in the Don't Mess with Texas Trash-Off, the state's largest one-day cleanup.

More than 74,000 people volunteered in last year’s event, and organizers are expecting an even larger turnout on Saturday.  The event is a partnership between Don’t Mess with Texas, Keep Texas Beautiful and TxDOT.

Read more

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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 website, www.txdot.gov.

In this week’s episode, we talk with Mark Tomlinson, director of TxDOT’s Texas Turnpike Authority, about lower toll rates for trucks on the SH 130 and SH 45 toll roads designed to lure some of the trucks away from the congestion on I-35 through Austin.  Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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