Sunday, October 31, 2010
He's no stranger to highway maintenance or to Kountze. But Michael Tywater does have a new responsibility.
Michael is the new Maintenance Supervisor for Kountze Maintenance. In his new role, Michael is responsible for maintaining the state-maintained highways of Hardin County.
He began his TxDOT career in 1994 in Beaumont Maintenance. Afterwards, Michael transfered to the sign shop where he made signs for the district's 5500 lane miles of highway.
After a brief stint in the district's Transportation Operations section, Michael went to work as an Assistant Maintenance Supervisor in Kountze where he assisted Maintenance Supervisor Todd Dinger in the section's operations.
He now replaces Dinger who recently became Maintenance Supervisor for Beaumont Maintenance.
Don't expect to see Michael sitting behind a desk, though. He's a hands-on type of employee, willing to pick up a shovel just like anyone else.
Enjoy the new week,
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Copper is in pretty high demand. In fact, some people will do just about anything to get their hands on it.
Last week, someone decided that there wasn't any real "need" for those lights on SH 99 (Grand Parkway) and Fisher Road in Chambers County. At least they thought nobody really needed that copper wire strung to all those nice highway lights. So, they destroyed the control box, broke off all the entry plates to the light poles, and made off with as much copper wiring they could get their hands on.
They made off with approximately 2000 feet of copper wiring and left behind close to $6000 worth of damage. They also left the folks who travel the intersection of SH 99 and Fisher Road in the dark.
A contractor is already working on making the repairs. Unfortunately, it's not as easy as just pulling some wire and firing up the lights. So much damage was done that several other parts need to be replaced. And getting those parts is more than just going to the hardware store. If the contractor doesn't have them in stock then he will have to order them. It could take a couple of weeks to get everything needed.
In the meantime, if you have any tips about who did it, TxDOT and the Chambers County Sheriff's Department would love to hear from you. You can contact the sheriff's office at 409-267-3233.
Monday, October 25, 2010
So is TxDOT. That's why the district is about to begin a project to make repairs that will save you some headaches...and buy the State of Texas a bit more time.
Also known as the Purple Heart Bridge, the bridge has had its share of "potholes". That means maintenance crews have to close lanes and make repairs before the hole get bigger.
Calling it a "pothole" isn't really accurate. However, calling it a "hole in the bridge" sets off an alarm in the mind of many motorists that is also inaccurate. The bridge is not in danger of falling down and nobody is going to drive through the hole and fall into the Neches River.
The problem with a "pothole" on a bridge is that it tends to quickly get wider. The wider it gets, the more time crews have to stay on the bridge and the longer you are stuck in traffic.
You don't like being in traffic and maintenance crews don't like closing lanes.
Beginning later this fall, the contractor will begin making repairs to the decking, or surface. Working underneath the bridge, crews will identify and add a sort of metal sheeting to the areas that are more prone to potholes. Afterwards, working on the surface, they will bust out the old patches and repair the concrete.
So why make repairs to the bridge if TxDOT is going to replace it?
The department plans to build a new bridge beginning in mid-2012. However, that's about two years way. In the meantime, we still have the responsibility of maintaining the bridge. It's sort of like keeping the old car running until you have the money you need to buy a new one.
Fortunately, during this repair project, most of the work will take place under the bridge. Later, crews will work on the bridge surface. However, all lane closures will take place at night to keep your travel across the Neches River as trouble-free as possible.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Some things go great together: Burgers and fries, Football and tailgate parties, Sonny and Cher. Ok...forget the last one.
However, a new study shows that there is a dangerous mix on our highways. Research seems to show that 16-17 year old drivers, who don't wear seatbelts, are under the influence of alcohol, have no valid license and drive pick-up trucks are mostly likely to drive aggressively. That means a much greater chance of having a wreck.
Of course, it sounds like a no-brainer. But take a look at who is on the road today and you may questions how many "brainy" people there are behind the wheel.
Does this mean pickup trucks are dangerous? No. It just means if you put the ingredients together you may come up with bad results.
Thanks to TV-33 in Dallas for the above video.
Friday, October 15, 2010
They're popping up all over Southeast Texas.
TxDOT will soon turn on some new hi-tech signs designed to help you as you travel throughout the area.
Our latest video shows how it works and what you can expect.
Monday, October 11, 2010
It may sound like a lot of money. And it is.
However, in the world of highway and road construction, $47 million dollars is small change. Especially when you consider all of it will be spread throughout the Beaumont District over a one year period. Also, consider that the SH 12 and I-10 interchange in Vidor cost nearly $80 million.
Yes, our portion of Southeast Texas will have to make do with less funding for new highway construction over this fiscal year (September 2010 - August 2011).
So why the shortfall? Once again, it comes to funding. The money faucet for highway projects is quickly closing. In fact, all money coming to TxDOT barely covers the cost of maintenance. There are several reasons for this including more fuel efficient vehicles and soaring construction costs. We could write a book on the reasons. Suffice to say that it's a nationwide problem with few solutions.
How does this affect projects under construction? It doesn't. All projects already under construction have been funded. The new figures affect only those projects which haven't yet started.
There is some good news in all of this. Most of the large highway projects in our district are completed or near completion. I-10 through Orange County, for all practical purposes, is completed. One the section between SH 62 and Adams Bayou is under construction and it is completely funded.
Some of the projects to go to construction this year include resurfacing the frontage roads along I-10 in Orange County, building a new bridge in Liberty County, and Resurfacing a section of SH 124 from Major Drive to FM 365 in Fannett.
Friday, October 1, 2010
With Interstate 10 in the process of a complete rebuild throughout the Beaumont District, some motorists are wondering what is in store for the section between Beaumont and Winnie.
TxDOT has already updated much of the 85-miles of interstate within the district. Our newest video explains what we plan on doing to one of the last sections of I-10 needing upgrading.
Have a great weekend.