New Waco District Engineer Stan Swiatek Shoots Straight, Outlines Priorities
By any measure, newly appointed TxDOT Waco District Engineer Stanley Swiatek's plate is full, and there's a lot he wants to accomplish.
The massive I-35 renovation is well under way with two major projects being let (placed under contract) next year. The new Interstate 14 (U.S. 190) mobility improvements are progressing, rural roadways in the district need attention, and current and future congestion remains a huge issue. But the biggest thing on Swiatek's mind is safety.
|Waco District Engineer Stan Swiatek.|
"That's my absolute priority, and that will never change, no matter what is going on in my district," Swiatek says. "I always have to make sure that the traveling public, construction crews and all district employees are safe."
Swiatek, who took over the helm of the district from the retiring Bobby Littlefield in June, vows to make sure all district employees are well equipped for their jobs. "I spend a lot of my time getting the things my folks need to get their jobs done efficiently and safely. I'm always looking for better processes and procedures, and I keep an open mind about changes for the better. I know that the best ideas often come from the places where you would least expect."
Originally from Pennsylvania, Swiatek comes to Waco via Abilene, where he was district engineer for three and a half years. He spent 18 years of his career working for the Florida Department of Transportation.
"I've always had my eye on Waco. It's a growing area, which brings a certain number of challenges related to construction and maintenance. But it's certainly not a metro area, and I am not a big city guy," he explains.
Swiatek says he sees "nothing but continued growth" for the I-35 corridor, and the Waco District — which lies between two metropolitan areas, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth — will continue to fuse into a Central Texas megaregion. "So congestion will be a part of our lives. However, a lot of our future will depend on technology, like connected and autonomous vehicles and other intelligent roadway systems that have already been put in place. Waco is proud of all that technology, and it will only get better as we move forward." He says the I-35 Expansion Project will give motorists many more years of use of the interstate.
For the rural part of the district, Swiatek has plans to improve roadway safety with the use of increased striping and edge lines, improved sign reflectivity, and even the use of more rumble strips. "It's a very low-tech safety device, but rumble strips can have a huge impact," he says.
Of all the projects planned or in progress, Swiatek says his biggest job is supporting district employees.
"Yes, I'm the district engineer and I'm honored to have this job, but I'm just a part of the group. I want to turn Waco into a true team."