The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has announced the huge 2023 Unified Transportation Program (UTP), a 10-year roadway construction plan that allocates $85 billion in funding to address congestion, safety needs, and a lack of rural roadways in the state.
“The State of Texas is working to ensure the transportation needs of our fast-growing state are met and that the safety of Texans on the roadways is protected,” said Texas Governor Greg Abbott in a news release. “This 10-year plan to address transportation needs statewide and dedicate $85 billion to improve roadways will be a huge boon to our state’s infrastructure and booming economy.”
The funding that could be available for contractors on these projects goes well beyond this amount, too. In addition to the UTP’s new money, an additional $32 billion in funding will be made available for project development and maintenance, bringing the number up to $117 billion available for roadway construction and upkeep across the state.
A number of the projects included in the UTP were recently identified by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute as some of the state’s most congested, making them major priorities that the institute claims could add almost 60,000 jobs.
“Texas’ rapid growth reinforces the importance of investing in transportation to efficiently move both people and freight across our diverse state,” added TxDOT Executive Director Marc Williams. “TxDOT is working hard to not only build the new roads and transportation capacity Texas needs, but to maintain the more than 80,000 miles of roads and other transportation infrastructure under our care.“
Planned UTP projects
There are thousands of projects that could be in the works, with project costs on each one ranging from less than a million to billions of dollars.
Some of the most ambitious plans across the state include:
- Close to $5 billion for the North Houston Highway Improvement project, which will improve and widen I-45 in and around the Houston area
- $4.5 billion for the I-35 Capital Express Central project, which will expand the highway in Austin
- $1.5 billion for the Texas Clear Lanes Denton County Connections project, which will focus on I-35 improvements in Denton County and the Dallas area
- $1.2 billion for various US 380 projects, which will provide improvements in Collin County and the Dallas area
- $1.35 billion for the Northeast Expansion (NEX) project, which will expand I-35 in the San Antonio area
The UTP covers a lot of transportation needs outside of roadways, too, and funding isn’t just being directed to populous areas of the state.
Alongside road construction, the plan includes public transit, aviation, rail, and maritime projects, while $14 billion of the UTP’s funding is earmarked for projects in rural areas, with an emphasis on improving transportation needs for critical energy and agriculture.
The UTP is divided into regional districts, with each having main priorities (as well as smaller projects) that will call for a large range of construction expertise. Some of the state’s major districts and their priorities include:
- Austin District: Safety spending a top priority, as well as balancing the needs of metro and rural areas; expansion of I-35 is a main goal.
- Corpus Christi District: Improving statewide connectivity to the area, including by way of working with maritime infrastructure projects (such as the Port Aransas Ferry project).
- Dallas District: Prioritizing improving traffic problems that are caused by rapid population growth in the area, with significant work on major highways.
- Fort Worth District: Attempting to focus on connectivity between urban and rural areas covered by the district.
- Houston District: A major focus on congestion relief and disaster planning, with widening I-45 as a priority goal.
- San Antonio District: Focus on metropolitan and urban area maintenance and rehabilitation projects.
You can find a complete breakdown of highway project listings broken down alphabetically by district beginning on page 45 of this document.
Each district will handle the distribution of project funds at a regional level in conjunction with TxDOT, meaning that contractors who wish to get involved should connect with individual regions and keep an eye on calls for bids and proposals.
Though projects are at all different stages of planning and production, some have already gotten started — and their contractors have gotten access to some huge opportunities:
- Webber recently was awarded $340 million in contracts to undertake highway expansion projects in Kaufman, Denton, Collin, and Comal counties from 2022 to 2025.
- Granite was awarded two contracts valued at $107 million for work to be done on State Highway 288 in the Houston area, which will involve new bridge construction and on-ramp reconstruction from 2022 to 2024.
How to find more information
In total, the 2023 UTP has close to 7,000 projects planned that TxDOT hopes to work on in the next decade, all with different and constantly varying timelines. Opportunities may not stop with the $85 billion currently allocated, either.
According to AGC of Texas President David Casteel, there’s even a chance that when the funding package is reevaluated in 2023, it may receive additional money — so, it will be important for contractors to keep an eye on what opportunities are available.
Though the 2023 UTP’s project documents have an overview of some of the more significant projects that are planned, contractors can use the TxDOT Project Tracker portal to view a comprehensive list of planned and potential projects in the state.