Recognizing the best projects or processes that meet the Texas Dept. of Transportation’s transportation goals while also protecting or enhancing the environment, TxDOT selected the winner and honorees of its annual Environmental Achievement Award.

Eligible projects must show ability to proactively protect or enhance the environment without being the result of any mandate. TxDOT’s Lubbock District won top honors for its “Restoration of Playa Lake 44 Project.”

Located in the Central Flyway for migratory birds, the Lubbock district contains the largest concentration of playa lakes in the world. The shallow, seasonal wetlands are vital to millions of migrating birds and are endangered by urban and agricultural encroachment.

The city preserved several playas as parks; however, by 1990, Playa Lake 44 was reduced to a concrete drainage ditch surrounded by parking lots and rundown buildings. The Lubbock District restored this playa as part of the extensive Marsha Sharp Freeway project.

Exceeding federal permit requirements, Playa Lake 44 replaces an area of urban blight with a sustainable wetland that channels floodwater to Playa Lake 43 in nearby Maxey Park and provides a safe haven for migratory birds.

TxDOT’s Wichita Falls District “Seymour Park Streambed Rehabilitation” project was selected as runner-up for its effort to mitigate environmental impacts in the nearby U.S. 277 expansion project.

TxDOT’s San Angelo District received honorable mention for the “Refurbished Rocksprings Main Street Project.”

The Laredo District of TxDOT also earned an honorable mention for its “Three Points Interchange Project.”