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Leadership Award

Texas Department of Transportation

This Award recognizes the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), The Turnpike Right of Way Authority Division, HDR Engineering and PBS&J for their commitment and dedication to the Central Texas Turnpike Project (CTTP). The TxDOT, Turnpike Authority Division Right-of-Way Section is in the final stages of Right-of-Way (ROW) acquisition on approximately 65 miles of roadway located in Central Texas-one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. This project represents about 700 parcels and 359 relocations at an estimated ROW cost of $690 million, making it currently one of the largest transportation projects in the Nation.

One of the unique aspects of the Central Texas Turnpike design/build projects is that the environmental, property acquisition (including appraisal and relocation), and the design and construction activities were undertaken simultaneously under one central location known as the Central Texas Turnpike Project Office (CTTP). The co-location and partner concept included representatives from the Texas Attorney General and the Federal Highway Administration. The inclusion of all the transportation disciplines prevented problems from occurring or minimized the impacts of issues that did occur. The inclusion of the right-of-way discipline into the design decision-making process has limited damages by minimizing access denial and other design issues to the remainder of the properties. Many of the unique right-of-way processes TxDOT implemented on these projects, such as the Possession and Use Agreement (allows for the use of the property for construction prior to closing), are now becoming the standard on traditional TxDOT projects.

The success of the CTTP and the Turnpike Right-of-Way section has allowed TxDOT senior management to look at the CTTP as a model on which to base and manage future large scale projects. The major accomplishments for the CTTP are further evidenced by the several hundred officials, dignitaries and international transportation professionals who have toured the CTTP model.

Contributors:

Donald C. Toner, Jr., SR/WA, Kerry Fulton, SR/WA, Teri Morgan, SR/WA, John P. Hearn and John Breed.

Leadership Honorable Mention Award

Steve Damron, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Division of Right-of-Way

This Honorable Mention Award recognizes Steve Damron and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Division of Right-of-Way for being proactive in avoiding critical staff shortages of branch managers and skilled staff positions due to several simultaneous retirements.

Due to retirement incentives, Mr. Damron knew the Division would need to be proactive to address staff shortages since more than half the remaining staff statewide would qualify to retire. Personnel laws in the State of Kentucky will not allow the hiring of personnel prior to announced retirements of current employees. Mr. Damron used the Cabinet's partnership with the University of Kentucky Transportation Center along with a $15,000 grant from the State Association of State Highway and Transportation Official (SASHTO) and led the division in setting up a co-op program from fifteen college seniors; drawing students from the colleges and universities close to the 12 district right-of-way offices. Twelve students were hired to learn the various aspects of right-of-way and three students were hired specifically to train as appraisers. The students are paid an hourly rate for their work in the District Offices and with satisfactory performance for the first semester they are offered a bonus for a commitment to work for the Cabinet as a full-time employee upon graduation.

Those 15 students will benefit from being trained by long-term, knowledgeable personnel and will be valuable, viable additions to the District staff. This program will help offset expected retirements with trained personnel. The program is being refined to continue indefinitely, with six to eight students per year and a full tuition-based scholarship.

Updated: 04/02/2013
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