TxDOT celebrates 100th anniversary

Posted at 1:55 PM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:30:45-04

The Texas Department of Transportation is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week.

The state agency has influenced the way Texans transport goods and travel around the state.

In the past 100 years, some of the projects that have had an impact in Central Texas, include building interstate 35.

"Before you had an interstate you had numerous roads that would wind through the various smalls towns and villages along the way. Traffic would move but it was a time-consuming process," TXDOT Spokesman Ken Roberts said.

He added building the interstate changed that.

"That in itself had a significant impact on the growth of Texas because as people had greater access to various locations more people came and more people are still coming."

As more people are still coming to Central Texas and traveling on roads and bridges, the state agency is also making sure they are safe.

The Washington Avenue Bridge in Waco, which was built in the 1900s is routinely inspected by TXDOT. It also paid to restore the historic bridge in 2009, which was a project former Waco Planning Director Bill Falco supported. 

"I would say it was critical to the growth that the city underwent that time during that time to serve that growth that they had that second connection," Falco said. "We expressed interest in preserving this bridge partly because of its close connection to Elm and Washington and partly because of its historic significance," Falco said.

He added that at the time it was built was the single span bridge of its design in the southwest.

The restoration of that bridge is now part of TXDOT's century of service. The state agency has continued plans of connecting the state in the works. 

"We are never going to be satisfied to make sure we are meeting the demands of a growing population," Roberts said.

Right now, TXDOT is adding current capacity to interstate 35. 

"Once we complete the expansion and reconstruction that's underway right now, traffic is going to flow very quickly, very smoothly here on a continuing basis. From that point forward there will be times that there would times that is going to be required to conduct certain maintenance and repairs," Roberts said.

Roberts anticipates the extension of US 190 in Bell County, which would be designated as interstate 14, to have a major impact to future transportation because it will stretch east to west across Texas.

To celebrate the milestone, TXDOT will have historic photo displays and a 1918 refurbished Liberty Truck from Monday to Wednesday at the Waco District Headquarters located in the 100 South Loop Drive in Waco. On Monday, the exhibit will be open from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Tuesday and Wednesday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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