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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-69 Moving Forward
  • National Study: Texas Top State in Transportation, Infrastructure
  • Commission's July 26 Meeting Set for Corpus Christi
  • I-35 Waco Bridges Under Way
  • Turn Around Don't Drown
  • Ten Communities Receive Landscape Awards
  • Randall to Retire
  • Get A Summer P.A.S.S.
  • New TxDOT Leadership Appointments
  • Drive Clean Across Texas Sweepstakes
  • TxDOT Podcast: Doug Shupe, AAA Texas
  • Small Hr


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July 16, 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 AskTxDOT@txdot.gov.

I-69 Moving Forward

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TxDOT officials recently announced key funding details to advance I-69 in Texas. A total of $17 million has been allocated to develop US 59 relief options at Lufkin, Nacogdoches and Corrigan. In the Liberty County area, $6 million was allocated to improve US 59 to a controlled access facility. Another $12 million will fund frontage roads and ramps and the removal of crossovers on US 59 from Loop 463 to US 87 in Victoria. Also, $6 million has been allocated to US 59 projects in Fort Bend and Wharton counties.

In South Texas, $40 million in funding will go toward construction of a relief route in Premont on US 281. On US 77, $60 million is dedicated to the design-build project from Driscoll to Kingsville. In Laredo, $9 million will be used to construct an overpass on Loop 20. These improvements were recommended by the citizen planners of the I-69 segment committees. The funding is part of the 2012 Unified Transportation Program, which the Texas Transportation Commission recently revised to include an additional $2 billion for highway projects across the state.

The I-69 Texas route is planned to run from the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo to Texarkana and occupy the footprint of existing highways, including US 59, 77, 84 and 281 and SH 44. In addition to a stretch of US 77 in South Texas designated as I-69 in 2011, about 80 miles of US 59 in the Houston and five miles in the Texarkana area are being reviewed to determine if the sections meet interstate specifications.

Read more about I-69 planning »

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National Study: Texas Top State in Transportation, Infrastructure

CNBC's 2012 Top States for Business study gives Texas the top spot in the infrastructure and transportation category for the second year in a row.

"Texas stands alone as the leader in economic development and job creation and providing the infrastructure for that activity is a daily undertaking for our team," said Texas Transportation Commission Chairman Ted Houghton. "We are moving forward with multiple mega projects across the state, including the I-35 corridor expansion and I-69 from south Texas to east Texas. Activities like these undoubtedly helped us surge to the top of the ranks."

Read more »

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Commission's July 26 Meeting Set for Corpus Christi

The Texas Transportation Commission will conduct its July meeting in Corpus Christi. The meeting will take place at 9 a.m., Thursday, July 26, at the Congressman Solomon P. Ortiz International Center, 402 Harbor Drive and is open to the public. The Commission will discuss TxDOT's proposed Fiscal Year 2014-15 Legislative Appropriations Request and consider authorizing the issuance of a request for proposals for the development, design, construction and, potentially, maintenance of US 77 from Kingsville to Driscoll in Nueces County.

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I-35 Waco Bridges Under Way

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An artist’s rendering of the new I-35 bridges under construction over the Brazos River in Waco.

Construction on a pair of historic bridges on I-35 across the Brazos River in Waco is under way, following a recent ground-breaking ceremony. The girder and cable-stay bridges are the first of their kind built in Texas. The three-lane bridges will provide access roads across the river for the first time, as well as protected pedestrian and bicycle paths and lookout points. The project is part of a 94-mile, $1.9 billion corridor expansion through Hill, McLennan, Falls and Bell counties. Follow I-35 updates and traffic information on Twitter.

Read more about the I-35 expansion »

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Turn Around Don't Drown

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Never drive through flooded roadways. Just six inches of water can float some vehicles. If you come to a flooded road, follow these Turn Around Don't Drown safety tips. To find out if your road is closed due to weather, call (800) 452-9292 or view online.

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Ten Communities Receive Landscape Awards

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San Saba was recognized for its outstanding anti-litter and beautification efforts. Photo courtesy of Keep Texas Beautiful.

A $2 million TxDOT grant will be shared among 10 communities for landscaping projects along local highways. The communities ─ Muenster, San Saba, Woodway, Athens, Angleton, Coppell, San Marcos, Allen, Waco and Arlington ─ are winners of the 2012 Governor's Community Achievement Awards, which were recently announced by Keep Texas Beautiful. The annual awards recognize the best grassroots environmental programs in the state.

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Randall to Retire

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James L. Randall.

TxDOT Transportation Planning and Programming Division Director James Randall, P.E., has announced his retirement, effective July 31. A 33-year TxDOT veteran, Randall began his career in the Transportation Planning Division, where he helped develop the department's first strategic plan. He also has served as director of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway Office and the Multimodal Operations Office. He holds bachelor's degrees in business administration and civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a certified professional engineer since 1991.

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Get A Summer P.A.S.S.

TxDOT encourages 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.

View P.A.S.S. video »

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New TxDOT Leadership Appointments

TxDOT administration has announced some new leadership appointments. Ron Wilson is director of the Office of Civil Rights. Wilson is a former state representative for the Houston area. Janine Mays has been named director of the Human Resources Division. Mays most recently served as head of human resources for the Texas Lottery Commission. Howard Holland, P.E., is the new Maintenance Division director. Holland is a 22-year TxDOT veteran, most recently serving as Amarillo District engineer.

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Drive Clean Across Texas Sweepstakes

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Don't miss your chance to win a brand-new Ford Fusion Hybrid. Enter the Drive Clean Across Texas online sweepstakes today! The deadline for entering is Sept. 23. 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 2012 Fusion Hybrid 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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TxDOT Podcast: Doug Shupe, AAA Texas

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 Doug Shupe, senior public affairs specialist with AAA Texas, about the results of a nationwide study on the cost of owning and operating a motor vehicle. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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