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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 71 Improvements Announced
  • Transportation Commission Actions
  • TxDOT Workers Aid in Blizzard Recovery
  • US 190 Expansion Groundbreaking in Killeen
  • Transportation Forum Draws Record Attendance
  • Super Street Design Unveiled
  • New International Relations Section Director
  • Winter Weather Car Check
  • Texas Highways: Independence Unforgotten
  • I-69 Federal Designation in Houston
  • TxDOT Establishes Freight Advisory Committee
  • TxDOT Podcast: Victor Mendez, FHWA Administrator
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March 4, 2013

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 71 Improvements Announced

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Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority Chairman Ray Wilkerson, TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson and state Sen. Kirk Watson (from left to right) announce plans for SH 71 near Austin Bergstrom International Airport.

TxDOT officials and state Sen. Kirk Watson recently announced plans to provide Central Texans a more seamless, efficient route from Mopac to Austin Bergstrom International Airport and SH 130. The two-mile project, which will add managed lanes to SH 71 and improve a portion of FM 973, is expected to begin in late 2014 and take two years to complete. TxDOT is working with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority to finalize the plans.

Read more »

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Transportation Commission Actions

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The Texas Transportation Commission approves design-build contract for US 77 upgrade in Nueces and Kleberg counties.

The Texas Transportation Commission convened on Feb. 28 and took the following actions:

  • Selected Austin-Bay, JV to design, construct and maintain the US 77 upgrade project in Nueces and Kleberg counties.
  • Authorized a pilot project for the procurement of engineering, architecture and surveying services.
  • Awarded state and federal grant funding for airport improvement projects at various locations.

Read more »

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TxDOT Workers Aid in Blizzard Recovery

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TxDOT crew clears roadway near Amarillo.

The Panhandle and portions of Northwest Texas were blasted early last week with an unprecedented blizzard that delivered 75 mph wind gusts and as much as 20 inches of snow, closing roadways throughout the area. Tall snow drifts cut visibility to almost nothing and made highways impassable. As the wind dropped and snow lightened, TxDOT crews from around the state moved in with snowplows to help their fellow workers in the Amarillo, Lubbock, Abilene, Wichita Falls and Childress districts clear the snow-packed roadways for motorists.

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US 190 Expansion Groundbreaking in Killeen

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Officials break ground for the US 190 Expansion Project in Killeen.

TxDOT and area elected officials recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of US 190 in the Killeen-Fort Hood area. The project will expand US 190 to six lanes and add a concrete traffic barrier between opposing travel lanes. The highway currently carries about 89,400 vehicles per day, and that number is expected to double over the next 20 years. The project is designed to address future traffic demand. The $55.3 million, six-mile construction project is slated for completion in 2015.

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Transportation Forum Draws Record Attendance

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Google's self-driving car was officially Texa-fied during the 8th Annual Texas Transportation Forum. Don't Mess With Texas!

A record 1,400 people attended the recent 8th Annual Texas Transportation Forum in Austin to learn more about key transportation issues from speakers that included state Sen. Robert Nichols, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson and Silvia Marucci of the Panama Canal Authority. Panel discussions focused on state and federal affairs and how new technologies are reshaping transportation options. The star of the annual event was Google's self-driving car. The vehicle — equipped with cameras, a detailed mapping system and a rotating laser that sits on top of the roof — drives, brakes and turns itself. But its biggest attraction is safety. With 95 percent of collisions caused by human error, the self-driving car is showing the potential for reducing crashes.

View videos of Forum presentations »

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Super Street Design Unveiled

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The traditional intersection at SH 71 and FM 973 in east Austin is being replaced with an innovative concept known as a Super Street.

TxDOT recently introduced a new intersection design that reduces delay and congestion by more than 40 percent and makes the roadway safer. The traditional intersection at SH 71 and FM 973 in east Austin is being replaced with an innovative concept known as a restricted crossing U-turn, also known as a Super Street. The innovative design re-routes the left-turn and through movements, requiring all motorists to turn right and make a U-turn at the next light.

Read more »

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Jorge C. Garces

New International Relations Section Director

Jorge C. Garces is the new director of TxDOT's International Relations Section. Garces recently retired as the managing director and CEO of the North American Development Bank. He previously served as Mexico and border affairs manager at the Texas Secretary of State's Office and as executive director of the Border Trade Alliance. He is a three-degree graduate of The University of Texas at Austin.

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Winter Weather Car Check

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No one wants to break down in any season but especially not in cold or snowy winter weather. Start the season off right by ensuring your vehicle is in optimal condition. Tips:

  • Visit your mechanic for a tune-up or other routine maintenance.
  • Have your entire vehicle checked thoroughly for any leaks, bad hoses or other needed part repairs or replacements
  • If you plan to use snow tires have them installed now.

And remember that road conditions can change quickly due to winter weather. Before you leave for your destination, get the latest highway conditions at Drive Texas™.

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Presidio La Bahia hosts a re-enactment of the Goliad Massacre each March. The Gonzales Memorial Museum chronicles the Battle of Gonzales and its role in the Texas Revolution. Photo by J. Griffis Smith for Texas Highways.

Texas Highways: Independence Unforgotten

The March issue of Texas Highways reflects on the Texas Revolution, unwinds at the Nasher Sculpture Center, bikes the Northeast Texas Trail and studies San Marcos. Spring is a great time to explore Texas! Follow the magazine on Twitter and Facebook.

Learn how to get a free trial issue »




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I-69 Federal Designation in Houston

TxDOT officials recently updated Texas lawmakers on the progress of the I-69 corridor, announcing the new federal designation of more than 28 miles of existing highway around Houston. Being developed on existing roadways as a critical artery for moving freight, I-69 will ultimately become a 1,600-mile-long highway stretching from Michigan to Texas.

Read more »

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TxDOT Establishes Freight Advisory Committee

Recognizing the important role freight plays in our state, the Texas Transportation Commission recently established its first Freight Advisory Committee. Led by Harris County Judge Ed Emmett as chair and Cameron County Judge Carlos Cascos as vice-chair, the panel of experts will serve as a forum for agency transportation decisions affecting freight mobility.

Read more »

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TxDOT Podcast: Victor Mendez, FHWA Administrator

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Victor Mendez

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 Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Administrator Victor Mendez about his first four years on the job and directing the agency's implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which made $26.6 billion available for bridge and highway projects across the country. Episodes are also available on iTunes.

Listen to Podcast »

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