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El Paso Project Recognized with We Build Texas Awards

From left to right: Antonio Santana, Jorge Oregel, and Rudy Elias
From left to right: Antonio Santana, Jorge Oregel, and Rudy Elias
EL PASO, TX — The We Build Texas project awards were recently presented at the Texas Transportation Forum in Austin, and the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) El Paso District received two of six honors for the I-10 Connect project in the design and the construction categories.

The $100 million highway reconstruction project added connectors to a series of highway interchanges along the I-10, I-110, US 54, and State Loop 375 corridors impacting international and local travel to improve connectivity on the existing roadway network. The design, environmental considerations, and construction in a constrained area near the largest U.S./Mexico Port of Entry in El Paso required intricate synchronization and cross-country collaboration. Both the design team and construction team were recognized for this project, specifically TxDOT’s Antonio Santana, TxDOT’s Jorge Oregel, and Rudy Elias of contractor Sundt.

The project expanded US 54, I-10, I-110, and US 62, and included eight bridge replacements, one railroad overpass, five bridge widenings, and two new direct connectors. The project widened I-110, provided separate truck lanes for southbound traffic going to Mexico, and provided multi-modal improvements along US 62, which experiences more than 1 million pedestrian crossings per year.

The design team was presented with the challenge of adding an elevated structure in the urban core of the city and widening existing structures while minimizing right-of-way acquisition. The construction team was challenged with minimizing interference with international traffic at the second busiest inland port in the state. They also worked within a very constrained area surrounded by businesses, residents, schools, a church, a zoo, and a national park.

Innovation in bilingual outreach and technology was critical to the success of the transformational project.

In addition to traffic improvements — including a redesign to redirect 18-wheeler traffic per public recommendations — the project team also worked to preserve culturally significant landmarks, such as the city’s first Hispanic school in the neighborhood park, during the demolition and new construction of bridges.

Other We Build Texas project award recipients include the San Antonio, Waco, and Yoakum and Brownwood districts.

The Texas Project Award program was initiated in March of 1987 by Raymond E. Stotzer, Jr., to recognize Texas Department of Transportation and contractor personnel who have cooperated to overcome major construction problems in a non-disruptive manner. Rebranded in 2020, the We Build Texas project award program embraces these principles and expands them, emphasizing the We Build Texas initiative launched in March 2017 to foster good partnering techniques, positive contract relationships, and best practices. In addition, this program recognizes individuals responsible for the plans, specifications, and estimates design of projects that resulted in no or only minor construction problems. Like the Texas Project Awards before it, this program also considers small projects and projects completed with a degree of quality far beyond specification requirements.

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