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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

  • SH 130 Extension to Open Oct. 24
  • TxDOT Marks Safest Year on Record
  • TxDOT Negotiates Agreement to Expand I-35W
  • Visit the New TxDOT Website
  • TxDOT Podcast: The New TxDOT.gov
  • 2013 Texas Transportation Forum Set for Austin
  • Texas Highways: Lost Maples!
  • TxDOT Leadership Appointments
  • Win Gas Cards in North Texas Toll Lanes Name Contest
  • Transportation Commission Set to Meet Oct. 25
  • I-35 Travel Information Survey
  • Know When to Pass
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October 15, 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.

SH 130 Extension to Open Oct. 24

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Central Texas' newest toll road — Segments 5 and 6 of SH 130 — will open to traffic Oct. 24. Driving on the toll road will be free for the first two weeks. Drivers will have to pay starting Nov. 11. The opening marks the completion of the roadway that forms a 41-mile link from Mustang Ridge through Travis, Caldwell and Guadalupe counties to I-10 near Seguin. The corridor is an extension of an existing toll road, Texas 130, that connects Georgetown to south Austin. The SH 130 toll system will be entirely automated. Drivers will either buy an electronic toll tag, or a bill will be mailed to the vehicle's registered owner. It will cost cars and two-axle trucks about 15 cents a mile to drive the road.

Read more »

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TxDOT Marks Safest Year on Record

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TxDOT in FY 2012 recorded lowest number of injuries and lost-time injuries in the department’s history.

TxDOT closed Fiscal Year 2012 with the best safety numbers in the department's 95-year history: lowest number of injuries on record, lowest number of lost-time injuries in department archives and lowest number of lost-production days. The historic safety records are the best in the country among all state departments of transportation that report their rates. To promote the agency's safety first commitment, TxDOT last year launched Safety: Mission Zero, a public outreach program designed to reduce work zone construction accidents, injuries and fatalities. The campaign was recently named the 2012 winner of the American Road and Transportation Builder Association's Roadway Work Zone Safety Awareness Award.

"From the highways to the hallways, every single TxDOT team member played a crucial role in delivering their commitment to safety, and it's because of their dedication that we can celebrate this amazing achievement," said Phil Wilson, TxDOT Executive Director "We must remain vigilant to practice safety first as our team members work amidst increasing traffic and hazardous conditions."

Read more »

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TxDOT Negotiates Agreement to Expand I-35W

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I-35W near downtown Fort Worth is slated for reconstruction.

TxDOT has negotiated a draft agreement with NTE Mobility Partners for the expansion of I-35W in north Fort Worth. The $1.6 billion construction project — expected to be under way by mid-2013 and completed in 2018 — will add two managed lanes in each direction on I-35W, or the North Tarrant Express, and rebuild the existing highway. The highway topped TxDOT's 2012 list of the 100 Most Congested Roadways, causing Texas motorists to waste 2 million hours in traffic annually. The expansion project should cut that time by more than a third.

Read more »

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Visit the New TxDOT Website

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TxDOT has launched a new, revamped website that features user-friendly portals for three distinct audiences — drivers, businesses and government. Driver pages highlight travel and safety, including hurricane evacuation and real-time weather information. Business pages are geared to organizations ranging from small businesses to large contractors seeking to partner with TXDOT. Government pages offer information relevant to local, state and federal entities. The site also has a mobile-friendly component to help visitors access news, traffic cameras, safety rest areas, road conditions and TxDOT employment opportunities. (NOT to be used when driving.)

Read more »

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TxDOT Podcast: The New TxDOT.gov

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, www.txdot.gov.

In this week's episode, we talk with Andre Clemons with TxDOT's Web development team about the agency's redesigned website. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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2013 Texas Transportation Forum Set for Austin

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Registration is now open for the 8th Annual Texas Transportation Forum, set for Feb. 17-19, 2013 at the Hilton Austin. The annual event assembles local, regional and state leaders with national experts to discuss timely transportation issues critical to the safety and efficient movement of people and goods across the state.

Engineers attending the Forum can earn professional development hours. Find out more here. Reserve your hotel room and register online now. Register by Dec. 14 and receive a discounted registration rate. We hope to see you in Austin in 2013!

Register now »

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Texas Highways: Lost Maples!

A colorful profile of Lost Maples State Natural Area — one of Texas' most popular destinations for viewing the turn of fall foliage — is the cover story for the November issue of Texas Highways. Also, read about how downtown Marshall lures visitors with its Main Street Second Saturday Festival and the Concho River's influence on San Angelo's art, history and culture. The official travel magazine of Texas also features articles on the state's bounty of historic trees; the restaurants of Houston's Lower Westheimer area; and the iconic woodcarvings of Peter Mansbendel.

Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

For a free trial issue »

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TxDOT Leadership Appointments

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Paul Frerich

TxDOT administration recently announced two key leadership promotions. Paul Frerich, P.E, is the new Yoakum District Engineer, and Ron Johnston, P.E., is the new Amarillo District Engineer.

Frerich began his TxDOT career in 1984 as a summer employee with the Austin District. He later moved to the Yoakum District, where he has served in several capacities, including traffic engineer, director of transportation operations and director of transportation planning and development. He earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Ron Johnston

Johnston most recently served as director of operations for the Dallas District. He began his TxDOT career in 1990 with the Borger Area Engineer's Office in the Amarillo District and later served as district pavement engineer, district design engineer and area engineer in the Canyon Area Office. He holds a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas Tech University.

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Win Gas Cards in North Texas Toll Lanes Name Contest

Help name new toll lanes going up in North Texas and win gas cards worth thousands of dollars in the NameTheLanes.com contest. The grand prize is $2,500, but there are several secondary prizes worth $1,000, $500 and 10 prizes of $100. The new system includes the LBJ Express and North Tarrant Express projects to upgrade existing lanes and add new lanes on high-traffic sections of LBJ/I-635 and I-35E in Dallas County and I-820 and SH 121/183 in Tarrant County. Existing lanes will remain non-tolled, but the new lanes will offer drivers a variable-rate toll option that changes due to demand and traffic flow. The contest is being sponsored by LBJ Infrastructure Group, LLC and NTE Mobility Partners, LLC, which are designing, building, operating and maintaining future highway systems in these corridors. The contest ends Nov. 4.

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Transportation Commission Set to Meet Oct. 25

The Texas Transportation Commission will hold its regular monthly meeting at 9 a.m., Thursday, Oct. 25 at the newly renovated Greer Building — TxDOT headquarters at 125 E. 11th Street in Austin. The Commission will consider the selection of a developer to design, construct and potentially maintain the Dallas Horseshoe Project in Dallas County. The Commission will conduct its Nov. 15 meeting in Arlington at the Rangers Ballpark Hall of Fame Theater, 1000 Ballpark Way.

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I-35 Travel Information Survey

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If you travel the nearly 100 miles of I-35 in Central Texas currently under construction, we'd like to hear from you. The design process for the I-35 expansion included input from citizen planners to help guide the design and construction. However, we still need your help to ensure that we're providing the travel information you need. This survey is being conducted by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute on behalf of TxDOT.

Read more about the I-35 project »

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Know When to Pass

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Football game days are among the heaviest days for alcohol consumption. TxDOT encourages fans to enjoy the big games but to also be responsible when it comes to game-day drinking and Know When to Pass. Always designate a sober driver if you plan on drinking, and if you are impaired, do not drive — call a taxi, use mass transit, contact the community safe ride program or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely or simply stay where you are.

Watch »

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