TxDOT, NTTA Get in Gear With State Highway 161 Construction
A $458 million deal inked for future toll road; also, road rehabilitation projects slated in West Texas and across the state.
Odessa Firm Works Three West Texas Projects Totaling $18 Million
Odessa-based Jones Bros. Dirt and Paving Contractors Inc. of Odessa was awarded a $10.3 million bid to build 10 mi of the nearly 16 mi of new highway that will connect State Highway 349 north of Midland and FM 1788 north of Midland International Airport - creating a new reliever route for north- and southbound commercial traffic around northwest Midland. The first phase being built is the eastern section from State Highway 158 to SH 349. No timeline for the project has been released.
Jones Bros. was also awarded a $3.5 million contract for the extension of Holiday Hill Road in Midland from Briarwood to an interchange with the reliever route.
Engineers had estimated the reliever route at $21.5 million and the Holiday Hill extension at $4.74 million.
Jones Bros. is also wrapping up a $3.9 million road surfacing project this month on a 5.5 mile stretch of Interstate 20 west of Toyah near Pecos.
TxDOT and NTTA Reach Deal for State Highway 161 Construction
The Texas Department of Transportation and the North Texas Tollway Authority have agreed on a negotiated value of $458 million for State Highway 161 construction.
The negotiated amount includes reimbursement to the Regional Transportation Council for construction of segments two and three and the remainder will be an upfront payment to be utilized on transportation projects throughout the region. NTTA will also pay to construct segment four, which is estimated to cost $610 million.
The agreement allows construction to begin and ensures that the road will be built as a toll road. Official acceptance of the project by the NTTA is dependent on an investment grade traffic and revenue report, rating confirmations on the NTTA’s bonds and further financial analysis as well as approval by its board of directors.
Upon acceptance, SH 161 will be owned and operated by the NTTA in perpetuity. Beginning in 2053, the NTTA will share with TxDOT 50% of SH 161 revenues, minus operating and maintenance costs as well rehabilitation and reconstruction. NTTA and TxDOT will also share the costs of all capital improvements beginning in 2053.
SH 161 will run from U.S. 183 to IH-20. The roadway will be complete to IH-30 by January 2009.
TxDOT Installs Dynamic Message Signs and Traffic Sensors Along IH-35
TxDOT and its contractor Forney-based J&V Communication Services Inc. began installation of 11 Dynamic Message Signs for the Intelligent Transportation Systems in San Antonio and Austin along the IH-35 corridor connecting the two cities.
In San Antonio, two DMS’s have been placed at Retama Park (northbound) and at Watson Lane (northbound) north of New Braunfels. In Austin, four DMS’s will be placed at Wonder World Drive (northbound) in San Marcos, 5 mi north of Aquarena Springs (southbound), FM 2001 (northbound), and at Slaughter Creek Overpass (southbound).
The DMS systems, with the exception of the Retama Park location will be operational this summer. Retama Park will be operational once it’s installed.
Five DMS systems were installed in the San Antonio District at FM 2252 (southbound), Engle Road (northbound), Walnut Ave. (northbound and southbound) in New Braunfels, and Kohlenberg Road (southbound) in May.
Forty closed circuit television cameras were installed in the spring in various locations between Loop 1604 and Slaughter Lane in Austin and should be fully operational by summer.
The boundary between the San Antonio and Austin districts is the Comal/Hays county line, between New Braunfels and San Marcos, but the installation of the ITS equipment on the IH -35 corridor is a joint project between the two districts. The limits of the project are from Loop 1604 in northeast San Antonio to Ben White Boulevard (U.S. 290/SH 71) in south Austin, a distance of about 60 mi. The project was awarded to J&V Communication Services Inc. at a cost of $4.6 million.
Twenty-four traffic sensor systems providing speed data will be installed allowing the traffic speeds and travel times along the corridor to be determined. TxDOT has traditionally installed fiber optic cable to communicate with ITS equipment, but will use wireless technology along the corridor for communications from the equipment along IH-35 to the TransGuide Operations Center in San Antonio and to the Combined Transportation and Emergency Communications Center in Austin. Cameras have been placed and are operational on IH 35 in the New Braunfels area at SH 46 and at FM 306.
The link between TransGuide and CTECC allows the two centers to share the video images and data needed to provide motorists with information on traffic conditions along the corridor. Motorists planning to depart Austin headed south or depart San Antonio headed north will be advised of conditions that can affect their trip.
U.S. 190 in Harker Heights Reverses Ramps, Widens Frontage Roads
The Texas Department of Transportation closed the westbound U.S. 190 entrance ramp at FM 3423 (Indian Trail) in Harker Heights in late spring as part of a multi-phase project to reverse the ramps along eastbound and westbound U.S. 190, widen the frontage roads and create a turnaround on the eastbound frontage road between FM 2410 and Indian Trail, in Harker Heights.
The phase one ramp closure allowed construction of the new westbound U.S. 190 exit ramp to FM 2410 to begin. Subsequent phases will close and construct the new westbound entrance ramp, just east of FM 2410, the new eastbound frontage road entrance and exit ramps between FM 2410 and Indian trail, as well as constructing a turnaround at Indian Trail. The project will also reconstruct the intersection at the frontage road and Indian Oaks and create a cul-de-sac at Coronado Road. Additionally, a right-turn lane will be constructed on northbound FM 2410 at the intersection with the U.S. 190 eastbound frontage road and a raised median will be constructed on the north side of the intersection at FM 2410/U.S. 190 along northbound FM 2410.
The nearly 1-mi project is being undertaken by TTG Utilities LP. of Gatesville for $2.5 million. It is expected to be completed in the spring 2009.
Delisi and Meadows Appointed to Texas Transportation Commission
Deirdre Delisi of Austin and William Meadows of Fort Worth were appointed to the Texas Transportation Commission, which oversees the Texas Department of Transportation with terms set to expire on Feb. 1, 2013.
Delisi has more than 12 years of experience in government policy. She served as chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to Gov. Rick Perry, and served as special assistant to Perry when he was the lieutenant governor. Additionally, she is a former policy advisor to the presidential campaigns of Lamar Alexander and George W. Bush, and served at the Texas Department of Commerce and as legislative aide for Texas Sen. Bill Ratliff. Delisi received a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and master’s degree in international policy studies from Stanford University. She replaces Hope Andrade of Boerne and will serve as chair of the commission.
Meadows is chairman of Hub International Rigg. He is vice chairman of the North Texas Tollway Authority, and a trustee of the Hatton W. Sumners Foundation. He is also a past appointee to the Texas Water Development Board and formerly served as a city council member and mayor pro-tempore for the city of Fort Worth. Additionally, Meadows is past vice chairman of the city of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Advisory Board, and past board member of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce and Southwestern University. Meadows received a bachelor’s degree from Southwestern University and attended the Harlaxton Institute in Grantham, England. He replaces the late Ric Williamson of Weatherford.
Johnson County Roads Get $23 Million Rehab Projects
TxDOT has scheduled five major improvements projects for Johnson County roadways this summer with a targeted completion of fall.
The new pavement overlay projects, totaling $23 million, will take place on seven roadways on various portions of SH 171, SH 174 and IH-35W. Portions of FM 1434, FM 2331, FM 3391 and U.S. 67.
Levelland Project Postponed for Lack of Funding
TxDOT officials have postponed the U.S. 385 rehabilitation project in Levelland for at least two years until funds are available.
The U.S. 385 project was scheduled to start late last year, but announcements from state officials about a shortage of funds caused the project – and many others statewide – to be postponed, according to state officials
Plans for this $18.3 million construction project include the rehabilitation of almost 5 miles of existing highway from 2.85 miles north of SH 114 to approximately 1.2 mi south of FM 300 in Levelland.
$40 Million Rockwall Lane Construction Project Moves Forward
Dallas-based Balfour Beatty Construction began new lane construction on SH 205 this spring as part of a 4.3-mi project in Rockwall, which began in January 2007. The project stretches from SH 66 to SH 276 and includes widening SH 205 to a six-lane, urban, divided highway.
At one point in the construction, the intersections of SH 205 at IH-30 were shut down temporarily to divert traffic onto newly paved outside lanes. The $40 million project is expected to be completed in 2011.
NAPA Publishes Technical Assistance Books
The National Asphalt Pavement Association has published four new technical documents designed to assist contractors in the latest information on warm-mix asphault, hot-mix as well as ways to reduce costs and enhance revenue with asphalt production.
Among the publications are “Warm-Mix Asphalt: Best Practices,” a 44-page document presenting the state of the practice for warm-mix asphalt in the U.S.; “Energy Conservation in Hot-Mix Asphalt Production,” a 32-page document with opportunities for energy conservation in the HMA production process; “Bold Initiatives in the Asphalt Industry To Safeguard Health, Safety, and the Environment and 101 Ideas to Reduce Costs and Enhance Revenue - Give Your Asphalt Production and Paving Company an Edge in the Marketplace,” a 32-page publication based on an educational session that was presented at NAPA’s 2008 Annual Meeting in Phoenix.
The manuals are available at costs ranging from $5 up to $40. Orders may be placed through NAPA’s online store at hotmix.org or by calling 888-468-6499.