Tuesday, March 29, 2011
If highways are among the most dangerous places in America, then construction zones must take first place. Work zones are the one place where you definitely want to keep your eyes on the road, the other driver and highway workers.
In 2009, more than 100 people died in the 15,131 work zone wrecks throughout Texas. The Beaumont District ranked 6th in the state with 670 work zone crashes. A total of eight people were killed in our eight-county district.
To bring attention to the importance of driving safely in work zones TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration are joining forces for National Work Zone Awareness Week, or NWZAW. From April 4-8, transportation agencies will remember those people killed in work zones across the United States and raise awareness about work zone safety.
One of the little known facts about work zone wrecks is that it isn't just construction workers who make up those fatalities and injuries. The vast majority of people killed or injured are...motorists.
That means you, the driver, has to pay serious attention to those orange cones, contruction warning signs and message boards. But perhaps the most important thing you can do is to pay attention anytime you enter into a work zone. And that doesn't just mean slowing down. Ask just about any highway contractor and they'll tell you it isn't necessarily speed that makes a work zone a dangerous place; it is driver inattentiveness.
Here is some more important work zone safety information:
- In 2009, there were 3,871 distracted driver crashes in work zones, involving 7,837 vehicles. These distracted driver crashes resulted in 27 fatalities.
- In 2009, 66 percent of work zone fatalities were male.
- Forty-six percent of all work zone fatalities for 2009 were 35 years old or younger.
- Four out of every five work zone fatalities are motorists traveling through the work zone.
- One in three work zone crashes is a rear-end collision.
- Of the 108 work zone fatalities in 2009, 40 were drug and alcohol-related.
Remember to slow down, stay alert, be patient and watch out for the other driver in work zones. Your life...and the life of your family and friends...actually depend on it.
Friday, March 25, 2011
But there's one rodeo that's out of the norm. It's the Beaumont District's truck ROADEO. And this one is about safety.
Maintenance workers throughout the district are tested on their driving and safety skills on the road. The Roadeo course is set up to test drivers on situations they might face on the highway. The goal is to make our highways a bit safer.
The districtwide roadeo is held every two years. The top two winners in each of the district's sections will complete at a final district event. The top winners from that event go to the statewide competition.
Enjoy the weekend.
Wishing on a four-leaf clover to help beautify Texas roads? Check out
TxDOT's Adopt-a-Highway Program at www.dot.state.tx.us/trv/aah/
and help make that wish come true.
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Some of the roughest pavement in Texas is located at railroad crossings. Southeast Texas has its share of rough rides over train tracks.
However, a new project is about to kick off aimed at repairing more than 30 crossings throughout the district. One of those crossings is located on Major Drive in Beaumont at Manion. Not only is it notorious for delays, it also has a reputation for being one of the roughest crossings in the city.
Beginning later this month, TxDOT will oversee the project to repair the pavement leading up to the railroad tracks. This involves tearing out some old asphalt and replacing it with new material. In some cases, concrete will be removed and replaced.
One important note to remember in this project is that TxDOT has NO jurisdiction on the train tracks themselves. The department can make repairs to the pavement leading to and away from the tracks. However, the tracks actually belong to the railroad companies. They are solely responsible for the tracks.
A total of 34 crossings in Jefferson, Orange, Hardin, Newton and Jasper Counties will be repaired. Work is expected to be completed in about 6 months.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Don't expect to see one of these on I-10 anytime in the near future.
However, the United Kingdom is working on a car that will hit the 1000 mph mark. Yes, you probably know some drivers who come close to that speed on your way to Houston. They probably don't break the sound barrier even if they do blow the doors off your car when passing.
Check out the video above for more information.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
One of the hottest construction zones in Texas has been the I-10 corridor through Orange County.
For the past 10 year, the interstate has been going through a complete rebuilding. Gone are the hairpin exits along the interstate between Beaumont and Vidor. What has also changed is the way traffic flows at major intersections. For instance, the interstate now spans roads and highways such as FM 1442 and FM 1132.
The latest I-10 project through Orange County is the rebuilding of the interstate between SH 62 and Adams Bayou in Orange. And that project has generated a lot of questions concerning how...and when...the MLK Overpass will close to traffic.
TxDOT and the contractor have designed this project to have as little impact to MLK traffic as possible. That means timing everything just right. To do that, workers are building the new overpass right up to the old MLK Overpass. (Currently, MLK spans the interstate. When completed, the interstate will span MLK.) Everything from dirt, columns and retaining walls are being constructed while the original MLK overpass remains open to traffic.
Once that is completed, workers will close the old MLK overpass, detour traffic to the turnaround and then begin hanging the beams. This is usually the last portion of a bridge project. Once the beams are placed on the columns, crews will then pour the bridge decking and work quickly to open the new portion of the interstate to traffic...and open what will then be the new MLK underpass. When it's all said and done MLK traffic will flow under the interstate instead of over it.
To speed things along, TxDOT has given the contractor an incentive to complete the bridge project and reopen it to traffic. If they complete it under the allotted time they receive a bonus. Anything over and they pay the state.
No exact time as to when they will close the overpass has been established. However, it will probably be this spring. Detours are not expected to be too long. But now is the time to plan and get ready. And once finished, it will be a major improvement over and interstate that was constructed more than 50 years ago.