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

TxDOT Mission

Work with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas.

TxDOT Goals

  • Maintain a safe system
  • Address congestion
  • Connect Texas communities
  • Best in class state agency

TxDOT Values

  • Trust
  • Integrity
  • Responsibility
  • Excellence
  • Service

In this issue

  • I-35 Expansion Under Way in Salado, Bruceville-Eddy
  • Space Shuttle Replica Moved to Houston
  • Transportation Commission Meeting Set for June 28
  • Safety Bling! Music Video
  • Texas Highways: Canyons, Springs, Balloons and More
  • RFQ Issued for US 77 Upgrades
  • TxDOT Loans Historic Items to Railway Museum
  • Get a Summer P.A.S.S.
  • LBJ Express Blog
  • DMWT Scholarship Winners Announced
  • TxDOT Podcast: Dr. Franz-Josef Ulm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Small Hr


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June 18, 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

I-35 Expansion Under Way in Salado, Bruceville-Eddy

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Waco District Engineer Richard Skopik addresses the crowd during the recent groundbreaking to expand I-35 through Salado.

Construction on the expansion of two more segments of I-35 in Central Texas ─ the 3.3-mile stretch through Salado and the eight-mile stretch through Bruceville-Eddy ─  recently got under way. Groundbreaking ceremonies for both segments were held earlier this month, and both projects are expected to be completed by the summer of 2016. With the start of these new projects, approximately 61 miles of I-35 in Central Texas are under construction. Follow I-35 updates and traffic information on Twitter.

Read more about the I-35 expansion »

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Space Shuttle Replica Moved to Houston

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Hundreds of spectators lined NASA Road 1 to see the shuttle make its journey to Space Center Houston.

When a full-scale replica of a NASA space shuttle made its recent five-hour, mile-long trek from a barge dock in Clear Lake to its new home at the Space Center Houston, TxDOT helped make the move a safe and successful event. The Houston District's emergency operations team worked with the local law enforcement's incident command center throughout the move and closely observed as the shuttle passed under the SH 146 Kemah Bridge. NASA's signal contractor dismantled the traffic signals along NASA Road 1 to accommodate the shuttle's 54-foot height and 78-foot wingspan. TxDOT crews along the route inspected traffic signals to ensure they were operational.

Once the replica is installed and prepared for visitors, the public will be allowed to tour the vessel for a behind-the-scenes experience. Space Center Houston is planning a contest to select a Texas-appropriate new name for the replica, known as Explorer during the 18 years it was in use at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Read more about Space Center Houston »

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Transportation Commission Meeting Set for June 28

The Texas Transportation Commission will convene at 9 a.m., Thursday, June 28 for its regular monthly meeting at 200 East Riverside Drive, Room 1-A.1, in Austin. The Commission will consider adoption of the agency's 2013-17 Strategic Plan and the Texas Rural Transportation Plan 2035.

For more information »

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Safety Bling! Music Video

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The Rhymanese Twins rap out new bicycle safety message.

A new TxDOT-funded music video Safety Bling! featuring comic rap duo the Rhymanese Twins helps spread the word about bicycle safety. The non-profit education group BikeTexas produced the video with a grant from TxDOT's Traffic Safety Program and guidance from the department's Bicycle and Pedestrian Section. The video was shot on location in Austin and College Station by TxDOT's Media Production Section and includes a supporting cast of University of Texas and Texas A&M University students.

The video's message ─ wear a bicycle helmet and use lights when you bicycle at night ─ is important because Texas has the third highest number of annual bicyclist fatalities in the U.S, with the majority of those occurring in urban areas. BikeTexas is using the video in its bicycle and pedestrian safety outreach campaign at Texas colleges and universities.

Read more about BikeTexas »

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Texas Highways: Canyons, Springs, Balloons and More

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Visitors to Aquarena Center in San Marcos explore Spring Lake in glass-bottom kayak tours. Photo by Kevin Stillman for Texas Highways.

The Panhandle's Caprock Canyons Trailway takes hikers, cyclists and equestrians on a time-travel adventure, and the cool, clear waters of San Marcos Springs beckon ecotourists in the July edition of Texas Highways. Other summer adventures featured in the latest issue of the official travel magazine of Texas include: quilt art showcased at the Texas Quilt Museum in La Grange; the lure of barbecue and watermelons in Luling; the urban gardens of Dallas; the Great Texas Balloon Race in Longview; and the Old West charm of Saint Jo. Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

For a free trail issue »

Take a peak of Texas Highways behind the scenes »

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RFQ Issued for US 77 Upgrades

TxDOT has published a request for qualifications (RFQ) from teams interested in entering into a design-build contract to upgrade U.S. 77 in south Texas to interstate highway standards. The project stretches approximately 12 miles between Kingsville and Driscoll and is part of the overall 122-mile U.S. 77 upgrade from Corpus Christi to Harlingen.

Read more »

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TxDOT Loans Historic Items to Railway Museum

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TxDOT crews move the vintage Fairmont MT-19A model speeder car to its new home at the Railway Museum of San Angelo.

TxDOT's San Angelo District has permanently loaned two historic items from the South Orient Railroad ─ a speeder car and wigwag ─ to the Railway Museum of San Angelo collection. The vintage 1939 motorized speeder is a Fairmont MT-19A model and was used by track inspectors and maintenance crews to move along the rail to work sites from the 1950s to the 1970s. The wigwag is a railroad grade crossing signal once common across the country and used on the South Orient until 2001. Both items can now be viewed as part of the museum's permanent collection.

Read more about the Railway Museum of San Angelo »

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Get a Summer P.A.S.S.

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TxDOT is encouraging drivers to line up a P.A.S.S. (Person Appointed to Stay Sober) before heading out to summer events. Thirty-five percent of all alcohol-related fatal crashes on Texas roadways occur in the summer months between May and August. In 2011, there were 321 alcohol-related fatal crashes in the state, resulting in 362 fatalities in that same time period. Follow the P.A.S.S. campaign on Facebook.

"A day on the beach, barbecues, outdoor concerts or just lazing the day away on the river, summer days are definitely great fun. But folks should put as much thought into planning for a sober ride home as they do into summer event planning," said Carol Rawson, TxDOT Traffic Operations Division director.

View P.A.S.S. video »

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LBJ Express Blog

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Workers tying rebar in preparation for pouring the deck on Montfort Drive Bridge.

Why does the LBJ Express project have so many lane closures? Which segments are under construction? Find the answers and more behind-the-scenes information about the 17-mile project to rebuild I-35E and I-635 in Dallas County at the LBJ Express blog. Also, follow the project's progress on TwitterFacebook and Pinterest. The $2.7 billion project is being built under a comprehensive development agreement between TxDOT and the LBJ Infrastructure Group.  It is slated for completion in late 2015.

Read more about the project »

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DMWT Scholarship Winners Announced

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Three recent Texas high school graduates have won Don't Mess with Texas (DMWT) scholarships for their leadership in fighting litter in their schools and communities. The winners are: Abbey May of Tyler's Winnsboro High School; Connor Chauncey of Llano High School; and Bria Beall of Houston's Eisenhower High School. May will receive a $3,000 scholarship. Chauncey and Beall each won $1,000 scholarships. More than 400 Texas high school seniors participated in the scholarship contest by submitting essays about the importance of litter prevention. The annual contest is sponsored by BASF Corporation in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful.

Read more about DMWT »

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TxDOT Podcast: Dr. Franz-Josef Ulm, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The weekly 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 Dr. Franz-Josef Ulm, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, about a recent study on how pavement improvements could make fuel consumption more efficient and reduce emissions. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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