Records Appraisal Report:
Department of Transportation Building Facility Construction Projects,
Successful Bid Proposals

Contents of this report
Agency Contact | Record Series Review

Internal links to series reviews
Building facility construction projects, successful bid proposals

Archival finding aid
Texas Department of Transportation: An Inventory of Department of Transportation Selected Building Facility Bid Proposals at the Texas State Archives, 1985, 1993-1997

June 6, 2008, Laura K. Saegert, Appraisal Archivist

Agency contact

This agency contact information was current at the time of the report but may have changed in the interim. Please call (512-463-5455) for current contact information of the agency's records manager or records liaison for these records.

Thomas MacMorran, Records Management Officer

Record Series Review

Records Series Review
Series Title: Building facility construction projects, successful bid proposals

Obsolete record series? No

Ongoing record series? Yes

Annual accumulation: Averages less than five cubic ft.

Agency holdings: 11 cubic ft. ready to transfer, other holdings unknown

These are successful bid proposals for renovations or additions to existing buildings owned by the Texas Department of Transportation, dating 1994-1997. The proposals contain specifications, cost estimates, project time lines, and other construction data. According to the agency, all of these projects were completed. Types of projects include the renovation of the Judge Roy Bean Visitors Center and Opera House in Langtry, additions and/or improvements to the Austin Headquarters and the Greater Houston Traffic Management Center, additions to department structures at Camp Mabry in Austin, and additions and/or improvements, most for ADA compliance, to regional offices or maintenance facilities in several cities. Two boxes out of eleven were reviewed for this appraisal, so additional types of structures may be represented in this series and the date coverage may change. Blueprints and drawings are maintained at the agency for the life of the asset; engineering or other technical data is maintained at the agency for an unspecified length of time, basically as long as it is needed for any repairs or improvements.

Building project bid proposals are prepared by contractors and showcase the work they intend to do for a proposed construction project.

Agency program:
The Texas Department of Transportation, in cooperation with local and regional officials, is responsible for planning, designing, building, operating and maintaining the state's transportation system. This involves the planning, designing, and right-of-way acquisition of state highways and other modes of transportation, plus transportation research to save lives and money; highway and bridge construction, and airport improvements; the maintenance of roadways, bridges, airports, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and ferry systems; public transportation, vehicle titles and registration, vehicle dealer registration, motor carrier registration, traffic safety, traffic information, and auto theft prevention.

The Texas Highway Department was created in 1917 (House Bill 2, 35th Legislature, Regular Session) to stimulate building and improvement of roads throughout the state. The Federal Aid Road Act of July 11, 1916 (39 Stat. 355; 16 U.S.C. 503; 23 U.S.C. 15, 48), signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson, initiated federal aid for highways with the requirement that each state receiving aid have a state highway department that controlled the building of roads. The Department was to administer federal funds to counties for state highway construction and maintenance and to provide for state motor vehicle registration, fees from which were to generate the state's required matching funds. The department began operation on June 4, 1917. After gathering information at public hearings over that summer the commission proposed an 8,865-mile state highway network. Further influence from the national level came with the Federal Highway Act of 1921, which required state highway departments to control the design, construction and maintenance of roads rather than Texas' practice of allowing counties to undertake the work themselves with oversight from department engineers.

In 1969, the Legislature created the Texas Mass Transportation Commission (House Bill 738, 61st Legislature, Regular Session) to develop public mass transportation in Texas. This agency was merged with the Highway Department in 1975, creating the State Department of Highways and Public Transportation (Senate Bill 761, 64th Legislature, Regular Session). An executive order of May 1976 transferred the Governor's Office of Traffic Safety to the Department. The Texas Department of Transportation was created in 1991 (House Bill 9, 72nd Legislature, 1st Called Session), merging the Texas State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, the Texas Department of Aviation (created as the Texas Aeronautics Commission in 1945, name changed to Texas Board of Aviation in 1989); and the Texas Motor Vehicle Commission (created in 1971). In 1997 the Texas Turnpike Authority merged with the Texas Department of Transportation (Senate Bill 370, 75th Legislature, Regular Session).

The Texas Department of Transportation's governing body is the Texas Transportation Commission, originally composed of three-members, increased to five in 2003 (Senate Bill 409, 78th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). Commissioners are representatives of the general public appointed by the governor with advice and consent of the senate for overlapping six-year terms. Since 2003, one of the members must represent rural Texas. The positions are part-time salaried positions, and the chair (appointed by the governor) was originally called the commissioner of transportation; since 2003, each member is referred to as a commissioner.

The Design Division guides the development of construction projects, from preliminary engineering to the completion of plans, specifications and estimates for construction bidding. The division also manages federal funds and letting schedules, as well as oversees professional services contracts. The Construction Division provides general oversight of the letting, management and administration of highway construction contracts.

(Sources include: Guide to Texas State Agencies, 11th edition (2001); General and Special Laws; An Informal History of the Texas Department of Transportation, Hilton Hagan, 2000 (previously available on the TXDOT Website, the link has since been removed) and divisional administrative information, found at, accessed in June 2008.)

Reports are arranged by project.

Access constraints: None

Use constraints: None

Indexes or finding aids required for/or an aid to access? None

Problems: None known

Known related records in other agencies: None known

Previous destructions:
Destruction requests on file in the Archives and Information Services Division of the Library and Archives Commission were checked and several were found for a related series: Construction project files, which includes one type of record - Plans, Specifications and Estimates. Bid proposals contain these elements, though the PS&E, as the above items were called, were the final item prepared prior to letting the contract. So, a similar, but not identical record. Most of the projects documented were for highway construction, but it is likely some concerned construction of or changes to state-owned buildings. According to our files, many of the records that were approved for destruction had been microfilmed. I talked with the records manager and he said that in the past, through the early 1990s, many records at the agency were microfilmed. The agency currently has over 10,000 reels of film that they are slowly reviewing to determine which need to be retained for legal purposes. They will let us know if they find any reels containing successful bid proposals re: state-owned buildings. Destruction requests were filed and approved between 1986-1991. The agency's first retention schedule was approved in 1992 and having the schedule in place would negate the necessity of filing a destruction approval request if the series was on the schedule.

Publications based on records: Unknown

Internet pages based on records/related pages:
The Department posts several series of specifications on its website for potential contractors to consult, at
Professional services contracts awarded for the current fiscal year are also posted, at
Reference materials for engineering, surveying and architectural services contracts are posted at

Series data from agency schedule: or Suggested series from state Records Retention Schedule:
Title: Building construction project files
Series item number:
Agency item number: DEC04
Archival code: R
Retention: AC+10

Archival holdings:
We do not have any other series specifically of building proposals. We have the following series of related Texas Dept. of Transportation records:

Texas Department of Transportation, Records, 1911-1993, bulk 1917-1969, 147 cubic ft. [unprocessed, but we do have a folder inventory]
Texas Highway Department Records, 1920s-1930s, 1962-1975, 5.65 cubic ft.
Texas Department of Transportation, Transportation Commission minutes and agenda, 1991-2005, 2.25 cubic ft.

Texas Documents Collection holdings:
According to agency staff, these were not sent to the State Publications Depository.

Gaps: None known

Appraisal decision:
This series contains successful bid proposals for work done on buildings owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). Agency staff will not select the most significant buildings to document, we must do that ourselves. Some of the buildings reviewed in the two boxes of proposals received do have some significance and should be maintained, such as the TXDOT headquarters building Austin, and possibly the Greater Houston Traffic Management Center and the Judge Roy Bean Visitors Center. The remaining nine boxes (and further accessions in this series) will undoubtedly contain successful bid proposals and specifications for additional state-owned buildings the Archives should document. TXDOT is retaining the building plans and drawings for as long as they own the building, if the building were to pass out of their ownership, the plans and drawings would come to the Archives to complete this series. I recommend we consider the successful bid proposals as archival, but we would do a selection of proposals submitted for retention in the Archives. Because it is possible other records are part of this series in other divisions, we need to maintain the archival code of "R" for the series. A note could be added to the remarks column to send all the successful bid proposals to the Archives for selection of those documenting historically significant buildings.

The appraisal recommendation was approved and bid proposals were transferred to the State Archives.

Page last modified: August 31, 2011