The great state of Texas is not just known for its cattle runs, gun-toting swagger, and cowboy legends, its exquisite barbeque, or robust economy. Its reputation is not all about the oil industry that supplies oil for almost an entire nation, or its ‘Don’t Mess with Texas’ anthem, traditional small towns, and high-tech urban cities, but the Lone Star State is also known for its vastness, natural beauty, and breath-taking landscapes. Its diverse terrain is traveled and explored through the 683,533 miles of highway in the state. That highway system is phenomenal and overseen by both local and state authorities, one of which is the Texas Department of Transportation. This entity is responsible for keeping the roads and regulating the transport of goods across state lines. So what’s TxDots story?
The TxDot Story Begins in the Capitol Building with a Few Roads
The Department has deep roots in the state’s history and development. The state’s growth and powerful economy require that an effective road and highway system keep things moving. With a population of 29 million people, mobility and ease of access are necessary.
The earliest version of the Texas Department of Transportation emerged in 1917, known as the Texas Highway Department. Early responsibilities of the Texas Highway Department were to register drivers and oversee the construction of roads and highways.
In October of 1918, something important happened that would not only define the direction the state would go but set the groundwork for an expansive and ever-growing powerhouse state.
The First Official Highway Project in the Lone Star State
The thousands of miles that interconnect the state today had to begin somewhere, and they began between Falfurrias and Encino. Today, Falfurrias is a town of about 5,000 people and Encino has a whopping population of 60 people. Yes, it was these two small Texas towns that about 100 years ago marked the beginning of a thousand miles interstate system.
The early concern for TxDot was making connections between farms and ranches to the markets and other locals. That mission remains relatively the same, only it’s gotten a little more complicated. TxDot is still concerned about making connections, but today its mission is navigating the continuous expansion, increased population, and the very busy highways that exist within it.
TxDot’s Role in the State Highways and Transportation of Goods
The agency’s role in the upkeep and function of Texas roads extends far beyond paving a few highway miles. In cooperation with other local and regional entities, TxDot is responsible for:
- Planning and designing the states transportation system
- Building, operating and maintaining that transportation system
- It conducts transportation research to improve quality and save lives
- Bridge construction
- Maintenance of roadways, bridges, and airports
- Ferry systems
- Vehicle titles and registration
- Traffic safety
- Regulation and oversight of the trucking industry
4 Fascinating Facts About Texas Highways and Roads
As if the fact that Texas has the most highway miles of any state in the Union (yes including California) wasn’t enough. Here are a couple of fun Texas highway facts:
#1 Texas has the highest speed limit in the country. In a 41-mile stretch of Highway 130 from Austin to Seguin motorists can enjoy the highest speed limit in all of the United States. This piece of highway allows 85 miles per hour and opened in 2012. It opened up an easy access gateway between Austin and San Antonio, calming areas of heavy traffic between the two cities and congestion in Interstate 35.
#2 Texas has 55,000 bridges that carry vehicular traffic. There’s a lot of ground to cover in the Lone Star State. Sometimes that requires a bridge. Out of the 55,000 bridges that see traffic, 36,000 are on the state system.
#3 TxDot has 80,455 centerline miles under its jurisdiction. Centerline miles refer to miles traveled in one direction, independent of how many lanes there are in a roadway. Out of these, there are 40,846 farm-to-market roads, 16,380 state highways, and 3,459 interstate highways.
#4 Texas is top of its game in providing important crash information. Texas has implemented a Crash Records Information System. This system provides Texas drivers and the public immediate information on individual crash reports. Texas residents and the public at large can purchase redacted copies of these reports.
TxDot and the Trucking Industry
TxDot is also highly involved with the trucking industry in Texas, which is responsible for carrying goods across the state. Along with the Texas DMV, TxDot has in place compliance regulations to ensure the safety and proper training of drivers.
Need to Stay in Compliance in the State of Texas
Here at Border Trucking Compliance, we work closely with the trucking industry to ensure that they are in compliance with state and federal regulations. Depending on the kind of cargo you carry, the size of your fleet, you are dealing with varying regulations and specifications. From DOT testing, permits, or other title and registration issues, our team of experts can guide you through any trucking questions.
Need to transport goods across state lines? Call us today and learn how we can help.