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

In this issue

  • FHWA Gives OK for Portion of US 77 as Interstate
  • Perry Signs Sunset Bill
  • Hopmann to Receive Top AASHTO Award
  • Transportation Commission Set to Meet Aug. 25
  • Eddie Sanchez to Head Major Project Office
  • Noble, Tomlinson to Retire
  • TxDOT Video Wins National ADDY
  • Statewide Podcasts
  • Small Hr


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TxDOT Goals

  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

August 15, 2011

Editor's Note: 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.


FHWA Gives OK for Portion of US 77 as Interstate


The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) notified TxDOT that it has granted a request to add 6.2 miles of US 77 between I-37 and SH 44 in South Texas to the interstate highway system. The request included the support of the Texas Congressional Delegation, Texas Legislature, local officials and citizen-led I-69 advisory and segment committees.

Two more steps remain before Texans can expect to see interstate signs posted on this stretch of highway. First, the Texas Transportation Commission will consider submitting an application to the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Special Committee on Route Numbering later this month to use the I-69 route number. Then, the Commission must vote to add I-69 to the state highway system once the approval is granted.

Read more »

For more information about I-69 plans »


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Perry Signs Sunset Bill

Content Inline

Gov. Rick Perry on Aug. 2 ceremonially signed Senate Bill 1420, which renews TxDOT's responsibilities and functions for another four years. Numerous agency officials joined Perry and State Representative Linda Harper-Brown for the ceremony in the Governor's Reception Room at the state Capitol, including Texas Transportation Commission Chair Deirdre Delisi, Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, Deputy Executive Director Steve Simmons, Interim Deputy Executive Director John Barton, Assistant Executive Director David Casteel, Chief Financial Officer James Bass, Government and Public Affairs Division Director Coby Chase and General Counsel Bob Jackson. Following the signing, Gov. Perry presented GPA analyst Caroline Love with a pen he used to sign the bill.

The TxDOT Sunset bill, approved by the 82nd Texas Legislature in May, also retains the current five-member Commission structure; transfers the Motor Carrier Division resources and staff to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles; restores the agency's authority to continue public-private partnerships to fund specific road projects; and grants authority to use the design-build method for projects and streamline the environmental assessment of highway projects.

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Hopmann to Receive Top AASHTO Award

Randy Hopmann

Tyler District Engineer Randy Hopmann is the 2011 recipient of the Alfred E. Johnson Achievement Award from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). The annual award − to be presented at the AASHTO Annual Meeting this October in Detroit, Mich. − honors a state transportation official in middle management who has made outstanding contributions in engineering or management. The recipient is selected by a committee of three state DOT chief executive officers.

Hopmann has taken the lead role in championing the department's OneDOT concept that focuses on teamwork and efficiency across geographical and operational lines. His collaborative approach resulted in a $17 billion multiyear Project Development Plan and a $2.1 billion Proposition 12 program, producing $100 million in annual savings.

Hopmann was named Tyler District engineer in 2009, where he oversees department operations in eight counties. Previously, he served as the Lubbock District engineer, the director of transportation and planning for the Tyler District and several positions in design engineering for the Austin District. Hopmann earned his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University in 1984, and received his license as a professional engineer in 1990.

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Transportation Commission Set to Meet Aug. 25

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene for its next regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 25. The Commission will consider adopting the 2012 Operating Budget and the 2012 Highway Safety Plan. The Commission also will receive staff updates on the Texas Rail Plan, the agency's modernization project and the public-private partnership procurement process. There will be no workshop meeting this month.

Read more »

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Eddie Sanchez to Head Major Project Office

Former TxDOT employee Eddie Sanchez will return to the agency as director of the new Major Project Office, effective Sept. 1. In his new role, Sanchez will oversee the development, procurement and implementation of major projects in the Houston area, including the Grand Parkway (SH 99) and other public-private partnerships. He is returning to TxDOT after working for 13 years in the private sector. Most recently, Sanchez has been principal transportation manager for URS Corporation in Houston. Sanchez spent the first 17 years of his professional life with TxDOT, serving in several positions, including El Paso District engineer and San Antonio deputy district engineer. He holds bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering from Texas A&M University.

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Noble, Tomlinson to Retire

Dianna Noble
Mark Tomlinson

TxDOT veterans Dianna Noble, P.E., director of the Environmental Affairs Division, and Mark Tomlinson, P.E., director of the Texas Turnpike Authority Division (TTA) have announced their retirements, effective Aug. 31. Noble has been with the agency for 27 years and Tomlinson for 29 years. Noble has overseen the department's efforts to balance the state's multimodal transportation needs with environmental sensitivity and responsibility since 1993. After earning her bachelor's degree in civil engineering at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1984, she began her career with TxDOT as an engineering assistant in the regional planning office in Arlington.

Tomlinson was named TTA director in 2008, where he led the agency's development and operation of toll road projects. He began his career at TxDOT as an engineering assistant for the San Angelo District in 1982, after earning his bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Tomlinson served as the Amarillo District engineer 1996-2008.

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TxDOT Video Wins National ADDY

TxDOT's "Happy Hour FAIL" online video recently won a 2010-2011 National Silver ADDY Award from the American Advertising Federation (AAF) in the public service category. The 30-second animated video is part of TxDOT's fall college DWI-prevention campaign and was created for the agency by Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing and Trigger Studios.

View the video »

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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 outgoing TxDOT Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, who retires Aug. 31, who reflects on his 33-plus years with the agency. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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