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

In this issue

  • Grand Parkway Moving Forward as a Design-Build Contract
  • Transportation Forum Starts Wednesday
  • Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry Touted
  • Commission Meeting Set for Feb. 23
  • Late Commission Chairman Williamson Honored
  • Toll 49 Construction Moves Forward
  • Plan a Trip with Texas Highways
  • Visualizing I-35W Improvements
  • Texas Trash-Off Set for April 14
  • TxDOT 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

February 13, 2012

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


Grand Parkway Moving Forward as a Design-Build Contract

TxDOT recently announced it will use a design-build contract to build the next three sections of the Grand Parkway (SH 99) in Houston. A draft Request for Proposals for the development of approximately 37 miles of new toll roads for segments F1, F2 and G of the Grand Parkway in Harris and Montgomery counties is expected to be issued in March. TxDOT anticipates awarding a contract for the $1.4 billion project by the end of the year and breaking ground in early 2013. Construction on the 15-mile Segment E began in September and is slated to open in late 2013.

Read more »

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Transportation Forum Starts Wednesday

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The 7th Annual Texas Transportation Forum kicks off Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. with an opening reception at Sunset Station, 1174 E. Commerce St. in San Antonio, and continues through Friday at the Grand Hyatt Hotel on the Riverwalk. The theme of the Forum is "We're Going Places!" and will feature leading experts discussing key transportation issues, including former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and State Rep. Drew Darby.

To keep up with the latest Forum details on-the-go, please access our free mobile application, (password: ttf2012), via a smartphone. The application features session times, speaker bios, venue maps and much more!

Register onsite at the Grand Hyatt according to the following schedule:
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 16, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 17, 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
(Online registration has closed.)

Read more »

Listen » to a recent TxDOT Podcast interview with Texas Secretary of State and former Texas Transportation Commission Chair Hope Andrade about the important role transportation plays in the state's economic vitality. Meet Andrade and Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives Joe Straus at the opening reception.

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Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry Touted

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TxDOT's Galveston-Port Bolivar Ferry System was recently in the national spotlight. A USA Today article by Associated Press (AP) writer Michael Graczyk touts the historic ferry service as "Texas' version of the famous New York Staten Island Ferry." The six-vessel fleet operates on Galveston Bay between Galveston Island and Port Bolivar. Throughout the year, more than 8 million people use TxDOT ferry operations, including the Port Aransas Ferry System that connects Mustang Island and Port Aransas with the mainland via Aransas Pass. Both services are free and run 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read the article »

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Commission Meeting Set for Feb. 23

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene for its regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, Feb. 23. The meeting will be held at 200 East Riverside Drive, Room 1-A.1, in Austin.

The Commission will consider action on several items, including accepting a report identifying transportation projects that will significantly reduce levels of congestion on the state's most congested roadways, authorizing the project selection process for the 2013 Unified Transportation Program and final adoption of new environmental rules that will streamline the environmental review process. To watch the meeting, click the banner on the home page.

Read more »

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Late Commission Chairman Williamson Honored

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Ric Williamson

Parker County and Weatherford officials recently celebrated the grand opening of the Ric Williamson Memorial Highway in Weatherford. The highway, formerly the Western Loop, is part of a five-phase $45 million project that will connect FM 51 with I-20. The project was included in an $80 million transportation bond package approved by county voters in 2008. A longtime Weatherford resident, Williamson was chairman of the Texas Transportation Commission from 2004 until his death in 2007. He served District 61 (Parker and Wise counties) in the Texas House of Representatives from 1985-1999.

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Toll 49 Construction Moves Forward

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Construction of the Toll 49 overpass at SH 155 south of Tyler has made for some interesting viewing lately. Traffic on SH 155 was periodically halted in late January as a 500-ton crane lifted 36 bridge beams into place. The work is part of TxDOT's construction of Segment 3A of Toll 49 to connect existing segments between FM 756 and Segment 3B. Segment 3A is scheduled for completion this fall. Segment 3B, which will connect SH 31 and I-20, is under construction by the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority and is slated to open in 2013.

Watch a fast-motion video of the work »

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Plan a Trip with Texas Highways

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Rock art of the Lower Pecos River.
Photo by Michael Amador for Texas Highways.

Thinking about getting away for a quick weekend adventure this spring? Check out the Texas Events Calendar in Texas Highways, the official Texas travel magazine, and plan your trip today. The magazine's March edition features articles on the prehistoric rock art in shelters along the limestone cliffs of the Lower Pecos River; Central Texas sites that memorialize Lady Bird Johnson's legacy; and the seminal work of acclaimed Texas photographer Keith Carter. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

Learn how to get a free trial issue »

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Visualizing I-35W Improvements

The North Tarrant Express (NTE) project will improve mobility along north I-35W, northeast I-820 and SH 121/183 (Airport Freeway) with a managed lane system. The $2.5 billion project is being designed, built, financed, operated and maintained by NTE Mobility Partners under a comprehensive development agreement with TxDOT. Construction began in late 2010 and is on the fast track for completion by 2015. A visualization of the project's ultimate configuration was recently presented at a public hearing for I-35W. It was produced by Halff & Associates, Inc., based on TxDOT schematics and public input.

View »

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Texas Trash-Off Set for April 14

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Mark your calendars for the 2012 Don't Mess with Texas Trash-Off on April 14. This annual event is the state's largest one-day cleanup and is part of a partnership between Keep Texas Beautiful and TxDOT. Research shows there are approximately 1.1 billion pieces of litter on Texas highways. As the number of people and the amount of traffic continue to rise in Texas, more volunteers are needed to help pick up litter and debris. Help showcase Texas roadsides and take part in this event. In the meantime, Don't Mess with Texas urges you to organize litter cleanups in your area to help keep the Lone Star State clean.

Register »

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TxDOT Podcasts

The TxDOT Podcast keeps you updated on the latest transportation news and issues, and new episodes are published every Friday on the TxDOT website,

In this week's episode, we talk with San Antonio Police Captain Patrick Murnin about efforts to combat the deadly problem of wrong-way drivers in the Alamo City. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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