Contractor/TxDOT Teamwork

Sept. 28, 2010

NPHQ and TPTQ Awards

TxDOT honored construction contractors and TxDOT personnel from five projects statewide with Texas Partnership for Transportation Quality (TPTQ) awards. The TPTQ collaborates with the National Partnership for Highway Quality (NPHQ) and is a partnership between TxDOT, and the Federal Highway Administration, Associated General Contractors of Texas, Texas Hot Mix Asphalt Pavement Association, Texas Aggregates and Concrete Association, Texas Chapter-American Concrete Pavement Association, Texas Public Works Association, Texas Transportation Institute, Center for Transportation Research, and the Consulting Engineers Council of Texas. TxDOT Executive Director Michael Behrens and Assistant Director Amadeo Saenz presented the awards during an AGC highway letting luncheon earlier this fall.

Dallas High Five

Dallas High Five was honored statewide with a Gold Level Making a Difference Award in the "Public Communications" category and nationally with a Silver Level "Breaking the Mold" award. In Austin, accepting this award for TxDOT and the Dallas District were Bob Brown, Dallas District deputy district engineer; Mark Ball; Dan Peden; Jay Nelson, the recently retired Dallas District engineer; Matt MacGregor, Dallas District CDA/tollway director; Rachel Davis, president and CEO of the public relations firm, Oldfield Davis, Inc.; David Martin with TTI-Communications; and Rose Matejka, communications project manager, for TTI-Communications.

By the time the TxDOT Dallas District and Zachry Construction Co. officially broke ground on the estimated $262-million interchange, they had a comprehensive public communications strategy in place. The High Five communication program included strategies ranging from a "Name the Interchange" contest sponsored jointly by TxDOT Dallas and the Dallas Morning News, to the appointment of a mobility coordinator whose primary job was to serve as a liaison between the department and local businesses.

The National Partnership for Highway Quality also pointed out the unique contractor innovation of partnering with the Italian firm, Deal, to build a remote-control erector to place bridge segments. The segment erector, nicknamed Sergio, eliminated as many as 10 steps from traffic control plans and allowed bridge segments to be placed in half the time of traditional methods.


Accepting the Gold Level recognition in the "Breaking the Mold" category for the Single State Registration System Project (SSRS) were Joe Barnard, Homer Vasquez, Drake Kirk, Michael Dewbre, Sue Cable, Sheila Arnold, and Christy Bird of the TxDOT Motor Carrier Division. This project went on to win a Silver Level nationally in the "Risk Taking" category.

Each year, Texas registers more than 10,000 Texas-based motor carriers. TxDOT had been using a 10-year-old DOS-based application that required 45 minutes to process each application or renewal, and could not produce a data log. The TxDOT staff developed web-based application that increased customer service and produced a positive return on investment in both time and cost savings for TxDOT and customers.


TxDOT's SiteManager Support Team received recognition at the Silver Level in the "Breaking the Mold" category. David Debo and Tony Compton accepting the award for the TxDOT Construction Division.

During efficiency and satisfaction audits, they discovered significant software incompatibility issues, and in many cases, a lack of basic computer skills among users. They reorganized the SiteManager website; implemented user-group meetings across Texas; converted the database from Sybase to Oracle; and created a comprehensive training web-server. They upgraded the SitePad feature, but eventually replaced it with Amigo. The team estimates production improvements amounting to an overall savings of over $1.2 million a year.

Old Cora Restoration

Lynn Passmore, Brownwood District engineer; Gary Humes; Larry Smith; Darren Poe; and Andrew Chisholm accepted the bronze award in the "Breaking the Mold" category for the complete restoration of the Old Cora Courthouse utilizing historically accurate construction practices.

The Old Cora structure was originally built before 1856 in the town of Cora, Comanche County, and served as its first county courthouse. Generally credited as the last standing log-built, county courthouse in Texas, Old Cora has been designated as a Registered Texas Historic Landmark, and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

US 180 Brick Street

Tania Bonilla and Scott Webb, also of the Brownwood District, preceding photo, accepted silver in the "Risk Taking" category for work on the US 180 Brick Street Streetscape Project in Breckenridge, the restoration and landscaping of one of the few remaining examples of brick construction on the U.S. highway system in Texas.

TxDOT's Brownwood District and the contractor, J.L. Steele, worked with the city of Breckenridge, history buffs, the FHWA, and the local electric, gas, water, and phone companies to bring the four-block long section into the 21st century, while retaining its Victorian appeal. The circa-1923 bricks were pulled out, cleaned and re-installed; and the utility structure was replaced. Detailed landscaping, decorative planters and old-time streetlights capped this project, which came in 11-percent under estimate, saving almost $360,000.

Construction and Design Awards

Each year, TxDOT recognizes contractors and their own TxDOT engineers and inspectors who "have gone above and beyond in using cooperation and partnership to do a quality job."

Amarillo Ross St. Bridge

Jim Cummings of Concho Construction Company and Sammy J. Harris Jr. of TxDOT Amarillo District were recognized for an $8-million project calling for removal and replacement of an off-system bridge on Ross Street in downtown Amarillo. The structure, which spanned the railroad switching yards, was also a route frequented by emergency vehicles and school buses. Concho Construction completed the job in 255 days, less than half the time scheduled.

Buda FM 2001/I-35

Brent Millar and Kelly Green of Capital Excavation Company and Wyette P. Williams of TxDOT's Austin District were honored for minimizing impact to the public during the rebuild of 1.5 miles of I-35 frontage road and replacing the FM 2001 overpass in Hays County. Valued at nearly $9 million, the contract involved work in a high-traffic location in Buda, and was completed in July 2005 before the opening date of Cabellas Sporting Goods store.

Breckenridge US 180 Brick Street

Greg Tucker of J.L. Steel and Darren W. Poe, P.E., of TxDOT Brownwood District received a Construction Award for the U.S. 180 Brick Street project in downtown Breckenridge. Brownwood design technician Taina D. Bonilla received a Design Award for the same project. One of the few remaining brick roadways on the U.S. highway system, this half-mile project valued at $2.8 million, was completed eight days early. The street was first paved in 1923 with bricks that came from Thurber, a present-day ghost town. The antique bricks were removed, cleaned and re-positioned in a four-block section of roadway in the city's downtown.

Corpus Christi Interchange

Tom Thorn of Kiewit Texas Construction (not present) and America Garza of TxDOT Corpus Christi District were recognized for a $9.2-million project that called for building 2.3 miles of a new interchange connector ramps at the Interstate 37/U.S. 77 interchange. This was the first project in the district to use concrete-maturity testing to determine the strength of the curing concrete in the bridge footings. Notably, the contractor met its self-imposed accelerated schedule, finishing the project in 10 months instead of the 24 months originally scheduled.

Dallas I-30

Todd Ochsner of Kiewit Texas Construction and Bill Compton, P.E., of the TxDOT Dallas District were honored for their $100-million project, which was completed this past June. The project consisted of the total reconstruction of 5 miles of I-30 just west of downtown Dallas, widening the interstate from six to eight lanes, adding HOV and auxiliary lanes, demolishing and rebuilding five major interchanges, and installing decorative retaining walls. A revised traffic-control plan resulted in saving $350,000 and reducing the contract time by 500 days.

Fort Worth I-35W

Bobby Middleton of APAC-Texas Inc. and John Gibbs and Otto Lopez of TxDOT Fort Worth District were awarded for adding auxiliary lanes to I-35W in northern Fort Worth, an area where traffic has doubled over the past 10 years. Traffic control and travel safety, compounded by continuing congestion, the need for timely change orders, and issues with the roadway's subgrade all presented big challenges during construction.

Lubbock Marsha Sharp Freeway

Tom Jones of Granite Construction Company and Robert W. Ratcliff of TxDOT Lubbock District were recognized for Phase 1 of the Marsha Sharp Freeway. At an investment of $46.5 million, the work widened Loop 289 and converted U.S. 82 from non-freeway to freeway. Work began in May 2003 and was substantially complete in September 2005, 50 days ahead of schedule.

Midland Loop 250 Interchange Repair

Ernesto Amaya of Reece Albert Inc. and Richard Underwood of TxDOT Odessa District accepted an award for cooperation and completing their $4.5-million project in Midland in only 11 months. Intersections along Loop 250 required repair and use of a special concrete design at four key intersections. The 3-inch concrete thickness over an asphalt base is expected to extend the life of the intersection pavements by 10 years. Its "fast-track" design enabled it to bear traffic within 48 hours.

San Antonio Houston Street

Edward Cadena of E-Z Bel Construction and Myles Theis of TxDOT San Antonio District were awarded for expanding Houston Street from one to two lanes in each direction in the heart of San Antonio's downtown business district. This $2.9-million, 3/4-mile project included expanding, and improving storm drains, curbs, sidewalks, traffic signals, sewers, and water systems in an area where right of way was tight and all intersections were busy.

Seguin I-10

Mike Holcomb of Hunter Industries and Henry Felux Jr. of TxDOT's San Antonio District completed a $3.1-million project reconstructed existing frontage roads on Interstate 10 near Seguin 80 days fewer than scheduled. Work included grading, placing new base material and surfacing.

Corpus Christi JFK Causeway

A Design Award went to environmental specialist Mary Perez and professional engineers Paula Sales-Evans, Victor Vourcos, Martin Timmerman, and Pete Stricker of the Corpus Christ District for a 4.6-mile roadway project with three bridges that connect the Texas mainland and Padre Island. The nearly $41-million project, contracted with Zachry Construction, called for elevating the JFK Causeway at least 9 feet above mean sea level.