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

In this issue

  • Grand Parkway Groundbreaking
  • Transportation Commission to Meet Sept. 29
  • Today is the Deadline for Entering Sweepstakes
  • Barton Honored for Transportation Planning
  • Chavez Recognized
  • Cigarette Littering Can Spark Fires
  • Cable Barriers Protect Motorists
  • 2012 Transportation Forum Set For San Antonio
  • 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

September 26, 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.


Grand Parkway Groundbreaking

Construction recently began on the Segment E expansion of the Grand Parkway (SH 99) in Katy. On Sept. 13, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held on the road that will link I-10W to US 290. TxDOT recently awarded four construction contracts, totaling approximately $321 million, for the project. The project is designed to ease traffic congestion and spur economic development in northwest Houston and is expected to be completed in 28 months.

Numerous state officials participated in the ceremony, including Texas Transportation Commissioner Ned Holmes, TxDOT Interim Executive Director John Barton, State Senators Dan Patrick, Tommy Williams and Joan Huffman and State Representatives Bill Callegari, Allen Fletcher and Jim Murphy.

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Transportation Commission to Meet Sept. 29

The Texas Transportation Commission convenes for its next regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, Sept. 29. The Commission is scheduled to elect a new TxDOT executive director and consider amending state speed limit regulations to reflect statutory changes made by the 82nd Texas Legislature. The Commission also will discuss the development of a 511 traveler information program and receive a status report on the agency's modernization efforts. There will be no workshop meeting this month.

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Today is the deadline for entering the Drive Clean Across Texas online sweepstakes to win a new 2012 Ford Fusion Hybrid. The contest is part of TxDOT's annual campaign encouraging motorists to take simple steps to improve air quality. In some areas of Texas, emissions from cars and trucks make up half of all the air pollution. The low-emission Fusion is donated by the Dallas Cowboys Football Club. Texas drivers ages 18 and up can enter. The winner will be announced in late October.

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Barton Honored for Transportation Planning

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John Barton

The Texas Association of Regional Councils recently honored TxDOT Interim Executive Director John Barton with the 2011 State Agency Supporter Award in recognition of exemplary support and partnership with councils of governments in Texas. Barton was selected for the award by a committee of local elected officials and regional council executive directors from around the state.

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Chavez Recognized

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Maribel Chavez was recently honored by Historic Fort Worth, Inc.
Pictured, (from left to right) Fort Worth City Councilman Dennis Shingleton, Maribel Chavez, State Sen. Wendy Davis and Fort Worth City Councilman Joel Burns.

Fort Worth District Engineer Maribel Chavez was recently honored with a Preservation Leadership Award from Historic Fort Worth, Inc. Chavez was recognized for her efforts in preserving the community's historic bridges.

"Her inclusive management style fostered honest conversations that hold promise for the future," Jerre Tracy, Historic Fort Worth executive director said of Chavez. "This type of respectful dialogue between a state agency and non-profit organization creates opportunities for Fort Worth's future, and no one does it better than Maribel Chavez."

This fall, TxDOT will join Historic Fort Worth and the Texas Transportation Institute to inventory the city's historic bridges, identify maintenance needs and set up a preservation schedule.

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Cigarette Littering Can Spark Fires

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Tossing cigarette butts out of a car can ignite wildfires that spread for miles, scorching farm and ranch lands, destroying homes, threatening lives and exhausting limited state resources to battle.

As the state's ongoing drought has no end in sight, TxDOT's "Don't Mess with Texas" (DMWT) program cautions motorists about the dangers of cigarette littering. Use an ashtray to put out cigarette butts instead of throwing them on the ground or out a window. DMWT is promoting its "Texas is Not Your Ashtray" campaign with statewide advertising that includes social media messaging and billboards.

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Cable Barriers Protect Motorists

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A cable median barrier on I-635 in Balch Springs prevented a serious crash.

Cross median crashes can result in serious injuries and death. TxDOT's research and experience have shown that high-tension cable median barriers can prevent these crashes, save lives and prevent incapacitating injuries. The driver of an 18-wheeler recently learned the value of cable barriers while traveling on I-635 near Balch Springs. As shown in this photo, the barrier prevented a serious collision, protected the driver from injuries and minimized damage to his truck.

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2012 Transportation Forum Set For San Antonio

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Registration is now open for the 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, set for Feb. 15-17 at the Grand Hyatt San Antonio, located on the Riverwalk. The theme for the 2012 Forum is "We're Going Places!" The annual event assembles local, regional and state leaders with national experts to discuss timely transportation issues. Attend the Forum and earn Professional Development Hours.  Find out more here.

Reserve your hotel room and register online now. Early registration closes Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. Central Time. We hope to see you in San Antonio in 2012!

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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 Matthew Rose, chairman and CEO of BNSF Railway Company about how past challenges have prepared the rail industry for the future. (This episode originally aired in Feb. 2011.) Episodes are also available on iTunes.

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All inquiries may be directed to AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.