Texas Department of Transportation Newsletter

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

In this issue

  • Barton Named Interim Executive Director
  • Drive Clean Across Texas Sweetstakes
  • My35 Wins National Transportation Award
  • Drink. Drive. Go to Jail.
  • TxDOT Employees Win National Awards

  • Statewide Public Meeting on Sept.1

  • Statewide Podcasts

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Austin, TX 78701
(800) 558-9368

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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

Monday, August 29, 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.

Barton Named Interim Executive Director

The Texas Transportation Commission has named John Barton, P.E., as TxDOT's interim executive director, effective Sept. 1. The Commission announced the appointment at its Aug. 25 monthly meeting.

Barton, a 25-year TxDOT veteran and currently the department's interim deputy executive director, will manage TxDOT policies, programs and operating strategies while the Commission seeks a replacement for outgoing Executive Director Amadeo Saenz, who retires Aug. 31.

In other business last week, the Commission took the following actions:

Read more»

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Drive Clean Across Texas Sweepstakes.

I-69 Logo

Texas drivers still have a chance to win a donated brand-new 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid by entering the Drive Clean Across Texas online sweepstakes. The deadline for entering is Sept. 26. The statewide public outreach and education campaign encourages motorists to make cost-saving, no-cost and low-cost changes in their driving and vehicle maintenance behaviors to reduce harmful vehicle emissions—a major contributor to air pollution. The low-emission Fusion is being donated by the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter.

To enter the sweepstakes »

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MY35 Wins National Transportation Award

The department's MY35 public involvement effort recently won the 2011 National Transportation Public Affairs Workshop (NTPAW) award for best public involvement approach. This initiative of using citizens to plan for major highways in Texas began when the I-35 Advisory Committee and four I-35 Segment Committees were created in 2008 to research, study and develop recommendations on improvements for I-35 in Texas. The recommendations were then presented to TxDOT to guide the future of I-35 Texas.

Read more »

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Drink. Drive. Go to jail.

The annual "Drink. Drive. Go to Jail" initiative cautioning Texans that law enforcement agencies statewide are cracking down on drunk driving as summer winds down began earlier this month and will continue through Labor Day, Sept. 5. The campaign urges Texans to avoid a DWI conviction by using alternative means of transportation, such as calling a cab, designating a sober driver ahead of time, using public transportation, staying put, calling a friend or family member for a ride, taking a pedicab and more. TxDOT provides a handy RideFinder to help people get home without being arrested or hurting themselves and others.

Find a ride»

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TxDOT Employees Win National Awards

Two TxDOT employees recently have been honored with national transportation awards.

Darlene Goehl, P.E., Bryan District pavement engineer, is the of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 2011 President's Transportation Award for her pavement research and exemplary service to the transportation industry.

Read more»

Raquelle Lewis, public information office supervisor for TxDOT's Houston District, was recently honored as the AASHTO 2011 Public Relations Professional of the Year. Lewis was recognized for her leadership in implementing effective outreach and public involvement programs for highway construction projects and during natural disasters.

Read more»

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Statewide Public Meeting on Sept. 1

On Sept. 1, TxDOT will host an open house-style public meeting to solicit input for the planning and funding of a variety of transportation projects. The meeting will be simultaneously broadcast at all 25 TxDOT district offices across the state.

The discussions will focus on recommended revisions to the 2012 Unified Transportation Program (UTP) and the 2011-2014 Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The plan revisions, among other things, will include the distribution of Proposition 12 Funds as recently approved by the Texas Legislature.

Additional information will be available for public viewing and TxDOT representatives will be on-hand to discuss the development process and answer questions. Forms will be provided in order to receive written comments. All interested parties are encouraged to attend.

For additional information, call the toll-free information line at (800) 687-8108 or visit http://www.txdot.gov/public_involvement/utp.htm.

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Lenz, Meyland to retire

Russel Lenz Mary Meyland

TxDOT veterans Russel Lenz, P.E., director of the Construction Division, and Mary Meyland, P.E., director of the Strategic Policy and Performance Management Office, have announced their retirements, effective Aug. 31. Lenz has been with TxDOT for 31 years and Meyland for 29 years. Lenz has overseen the department's construction contracts letting, materials quality and testing and pavement management since 2010.

Lenz joined TxDOT in 1979 as a summer hire in the Austin District and became a full-time employee as an engineering assistant for the district in 1982. He went on to serve as Abilene District Engineer and Corpus Christi District Engineer. Meyland joined TxDOT in 1982 as an engineering assistant in the Dallas District. She also has served as El Paso District Engineer and Tyler District Engineer.

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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 Lowell Choate, Austin District director of maintenance, about the detrimental effect of extreme weather on roadways and how TxDOT maintenance staff responds. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to podcast »

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