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TxDOT celebrates 100 years of roadwork and more on the way

TxDOT celebrates 100 years of roadwork and more on the way. (Credit: KFOX14)

The Texas Department of Transportation originally the Texas Highway Department is commemorating its centennial anniversary.

The department is taking a look back at the early years with a historic truck that helped build roads back in the day and is now making its way all over the state to celebrate.

The restored 1918 Liberty truck is traveling along the 80,000 miles of roadway TxDOT is responsible for to tell the story of the department's 100-year history. This model was used in World War I but some were part of an Army surplus and bought by the TxDOT to help connect farms and ranches to markets.

These trucks were not only used to transport produce from rural to urban areas but also helped build roadways.

We asked District Engineer Bob Bielek if he’d like to use these trucks for roadwork now, to which he responded, “Well it only goes 15 miles an hour and out here on I10 there'd be a bit of a problem with it since I see folks can't drive the speed limit today.”

Although the trucks can’t be used anymore they signify the evolution of TxDOT.

“We've come from pulling farmers out of the mud, building twenty miles of road to having the largest state highway system in the nation. Over 80,000 miles and over 50,000 bridges in the state, so we've come a long way baby,” said Bielek, who is also celebrating a milestone with TxDOT, five years as district engineer, said.

While celebrating anniversaries the department is gearing up for more projects across the state as the commission is adding $70 billion of funding to their budget. The El Paso district has its largest scale project underway now, Go10 and it's gearing up for more.

“We have a bunch of things coming up one of them is the I-10 connect project to connect I-10 to the Border Highway around US-54. We need to do more work on I-10 and we need to finish connecting these areas to shift the traffic. We also have a project coming up on Montana, a $121 million project to turn sections at a time into a six lane expressway with frontage roads instead of a six lane-lane arterial roads. We’ll also be adding frontage roads on Loop 375 from Montana up to the Spur 601,” Bielek said.

The Liberty truck will be at the Anthony’s visitor center until Wednesday. To stay up to date on road conditions and roadwork you, follow @Kfoxtraffic on Twitter.

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