Despite the difficulties of keeping work going amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Texas Dept. of Transportation (TxDOT) has more than $24 billion worth of projects under construction at the moment—the largest amount in its history. During 2020, TxDOT approved more than $7 billion in construction in maintenance contracts, and the agency's payments to contractors also increased 26% year over year from fiscal year 2019. For these accomplishments, ENR Texas & Louisiana has named TxDOT as its 2021 Owner of the Year.

Projects underway across the state are improving both mobility and safety. TxDOT's Texas Clear Lanes program, for example, is providing congestion relief through non-tolled projects in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. Six projects have already been completed, 19 are under construction and another 18 are in planning.

Current major TxDOT projects include the $1.74 billion I-635 East project in Dallas, which is improving mobility, operations and safety along 11 miles of I-635 beginning just east of US 75 in North Dallas to I-30 in Mesquite. Another is the $802.9 million US 181 Harbor Bridge Replacement, which includes 6.44 miles of bridge and connecting roadway.

Construction could also move forward this year on the controversial North Houston Highway Improvement Project, which is a $7 billion reconfiguration of I-45 through downtown Houston. TxDOT is currently preparing the Final Environmental Impact Statement.

For more on the TxDOT's accomplishments, check out the March 29 issue of ENR Texas & Louisiana!