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Transportation
The Texas Department of Transportation, or TxDOT, oversees Texas transportation and is headquartered in Austin. The Texas Legislature created the organization in 1917, although the agency has had several names throughout the past century.TxDOT is run by a five-member commission and an executive director selected by the commission. Commission members are appointed by the governor, with the advice of the Texas Senate, and serve overlapping six-year terms.The department is divided into 25 districts, each of which oversees construction and maintenance of state highways. Austin’s district includes Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Gillespie, Hays, Lee, Llano, Mason, Travis and Williamson counties.In Austin, the organization encompasses entities including Capital Metro; the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, known as CAMPO; the city’s transportation department; and the chamber of commerce. TxDOT organized the “Don’t Mess with Texas” anti-litter campaign, which began in 1986. Also, it runs the TxTag program, which bills drivers for highway tolls by scanning a sticker on the driver’s windshield at toll stations.

Bankruptcy Halts Construction on MoPac/US 290 Flyovers

Two flyover ramps were being constructed to complete this interchange in southwest Austin.

Drivers looking forward to the completion of two flyover bridges linking MoPac and US 290 will have to wait a few extra months. The contractor building the bridges, Las Vegas-based Wiser Construction, has declared bankruptcy.

“I think they just realized they were in over their head,” Texas Department of Transportation spokesman John Hurt told KUT News.

“It does happen, especially with [contractors] who are smaller. They bite off more than they can chew. They’re trying to get into a major metropolitan area and get a big project under their belt,” Hurt said.

The project is at a standstill now. The bonding company is responsible for finding another contractor that will complete the job.

“I don’t think it will take that long," Hurt said. "There are plenty of companies looking for work out there.”

The project was originally slated to be completed in December, but probably won’t be done until the first half of 2012.

The $8.1 million project was paid for by the City of Austin. But the city will be reimbursed by TxDOT over the next ten years through the state’s “pass-through” financing program.