Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Yes, I "stole" this map from another blog. Thanks goes to the Beaumont Enterprise's "The Bayou" for finding this really cool map. So cool I thought I would post it here, too.
Our part of Southeast Texas has more than 1500 bridges. That's quite a bit of concrete, steel and even timbers spanning rivers, lakes and streams. Keeping those bridges in good shape is a challenge. Fortunately, TxDOT has a staff dedicated to nothing but bridges.
The map is from the highway advocacy group, "Transportation for America". It shows bridges in the Beaumont area considered "Structurally Deficient".
A word of warning about that term. I'm not sure who came up with it, but, using the word "structurally deficient" in the same sentence with bridges might not have been the wisest thing to do. It conjures up visions of bridges collapsing or on the verge of collapsing.
That's just not true.
If a bridge or structure was in danger of falling you can rest assured engineers would immediately close it.
Structurally deficient simply means that the bridge has something on its structure that needs repairing whether great or small. For instance, on the I-10 Neches River Bridge in Beaumont, it means that the road surface needs replacing. Since it is part of the structure and is considered needing replacement, it rates a "structurally deficient" rating.
Now, back to the map. The map shows bridges and how they rate at least in the Beaumont area. If you want to see the "BIG" picture then click on this link: http://t4america.org/resources/bridges/
Click all across the US to find out the bridges you travel the most to give you an idea has to how bridges rate. More importantly, however, use it to become more familiar as to the state of our transportation system and then get involved in finding solutions.
After all, those highways and bridges belong to you.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
It's a new twist on the phrase "Where the rubber meets the road."
The Beaumont District is experimenting with a project that could save money, time, and help save landfills from one of the most dreaded of all waste: scrap tires.
Getting rid of old tires has always been a problem. The Beaumont District is trying out a project to use some of those scrap tires to shore up the embankment on a section of US 69 (Cardinal Drive.)
The embankment on the overpass north of Highland Avenue in Beaumont is notorious for erosion after heavy rains. Maintenance crews spend hours upon hours pushing the dirt back up the slope to reform the embankment. While there isn't any danger of the overpass caving in, it does take away time from other much-needed duties along the highways of Southeast Texas.
In hopes of solving the problem, crews have excavated a section of the embankment and are placing large bundles of old tires in the cavity. TxDOT is hoping these tires will help give the embankment some stablity and keep dirt from eroding. Workers will then place about three feet of dirt on top of the old tires as a final surface.
It's good way to get rid of old tires and help shore up the highway system.
Thursday, April 7, 2011
On highways across Texas you will find just about everything from two x fours to engine blocks. While TxDOT crews try their best to clean the highway from debris, it's impossible to be on every single section of our district's 2700 miles of highway.
The above video shows what can happen when you don't secure the load.
It's really something to think about.
If you have traveled to George Bush International Airport recently, you've probably noticed a new overpass project in the far western reaches of Liberty County.
The FM 1960 overpass project is really a pretty simple and down-to-earth project. However, it's one many people stumble upon and wonder, 'What is this all about...'?
The project involves building an overpass at the Union Pacific Railroad crossing. At one time, the crossing was considered one of the "most dangerous crossings in Texas." The stats seemed to prove it. TxDOT used grade separation money to fund the project. Grade separation money is used to build overpasses at crossings with a high wreck rate involving trains and vehicles.
The $6.6 million project isn't expected to affect traffic anytime soon; there's plenty of work putting up the columns, beams and bridge decking. Toward the end of the project there will probably be some temporary delays as workers tie in the overpass to the mainlanes of the highway. However, that is still some time away.
We'll keep you updated on what happens and of any changes.