Texas Project Awards Honor Excellence, Collaboration

Written by  John Obr, Construction Division Director, Texas Department of Transportation

Texas is home to one of the largest and most complex transportation systems in the world. By the same token, the TxDOT is home to the best and brightest project design and construction professionals.

John Obr addresses the crowd at the AGC Monthly luncheon at the Four Seasons in Austin

During the recent Texas Project Awards Luncheon, TxDOT and AGC recognized 10 construction projects and two design projects that exemplify excellence and collaboration. Whether it’s solving a traffic detour route, navigating unforeseen obstacles or setting the bar for innovative design, these successful projects advance the department in the achievement of its transportation goals. The bridge replacement on the direct connect from US 60 eastbound to US 87 northbound near Canyon could have meant weeks of traffic headaches for travelers. An innovative detour was created and the project was completed in an unprecedented 43 calendar days.

Soil, water and planning problems plagued the Spur 594 frontage road construction along I-30 near Texarkana. The team was quick to respond to problems, offer solutions and build an outstanding project that minimized impacts to the surrounding area.

A project in Brenham converted a 5.71-mile section of Highway 290 to a full freeway section. City and TxDOT representatives met with stakeholders along the corridor and because of the cooperation of the parties, this project was completed six months ahead of schedule and under budget.

SH 72 through Bee County, once a rural road, is now a route for heavy truck traffic in the shale area. During all of its phases – from pavement redesign to construction – the SH 72 project presented significant challenges. TxDOT and the contractor worked closely together to produce a quality final product.

The West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth was completed almost a month ahead of schedule because of construction innovations. Protective-fencing allowed construction of the columns for the new bridge without closing the two outside lanes. Also, the installation of the 12 arches was performed with overnight closures only.

Due to various right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation issues, the upgrade of 4.5 miles of the IH 45 corridor in Montgomery County to freeway standards was built after determining to build the main lanes prior to the construction of the frontage roads. This project was completed efficiently with minimum disruption to the traveling public or to the progress of the project.

The team on the $14.5 million overpass bridge project for the heavily traveled LP-20 and major arterial McPherson Road in Laredo faced major obstacles. The traffic control plan was modified due to congestion and walls were reconstructed due to excavation issues. Several other changes were made, but they were able to keep the project on budget and on time. Due to the complexities involved with poor-condition subgrade and deteriorating concrete, the SH 78 and Loop 205 project in Brenham was constructed essentially one city block at a time. This meant maintaining access for residents who lived within the construction zone and coordinating with numerous utility companies.

A high level of communication and collaboration between TxDOT and the contractor helped complete the replacement of the SH 6 underpass bridge at Spur 412 in the Waco area in 18 working days and with a cost savings of approximately $300,000. This exemplary interaction also was evident in the quality of the work and concerns for the traveling public and neighboring businesses.

In Cooke County, an improvement project reconstructed the IH-35 ramps, eliminated a cloverleaf interchange and created at-grade signalized intersections of the IH 35 frontage roads with US 82. The project faced numerous challenges but the team showed professionalism and diligence in getting this complex project done on time and on budget.

Design awards went to the historic Wildcat Bridge Road and Providence Road bridges owned by Robertson County and the West 7th Street Bridge in Fort Worth.

Congratulations to all the winners.

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