A crash test and detonation demonstration were the highlights of a tour of the Texas Transportation Institute (TTI) and the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) March 4 for members of the Senate and Legislative Ladies Day. It was apparent that the 67 guests, all wives of Texas Legislators, enjoyed the out-of-the-ordinary show.
In attendance were Julie Straus, wife of Speaker of the House Joe Straus; Sen. Steve Ogden’s wife, Beverly; and Michelle Dunnam, wife of Rep. Jim Dunnam of the House Transportation Committee. Chancellor Mike McKinney and his wife, Lou Ann, played a key role in planning and executing the event.
The Senate and legislative ladies took part in a similar tour in 2007, and it was very well received and appreciated. During this year’s visit to the Texas A&M University Riverside Campus and following a detonation demonstration at TEEX’s Disaster City, the group witnessed a crash test of a 2007 Chevrolet pickup truck smashing into a standard steel guardrail at 62.5 mph. The test was a spectacular failure (which is always quite entertaining for those observing the crash) and generated over 20 minutes of questions for Lance Bullard, head of TTI’s Safety and Structural Systems Division.
Following the morning at Riverside, the ladies were treated to a luncheon at the Clayton W. Williams Jr. Alumni Center, a performance by the Texas A&M University Singing Cadets and a video presentation about The Texas A&M University System. Also participating in the lunch were the mayors of Bryan and College Station, and other local and Texas A&M University System officials.
“We are very pleased and honored that the chancellor provided TTI this important opportunity to tell the TTI story to this distinguished group of ladies,” said Agency Director Dennis Christiansen. “Numerous TTI staff members helped make the event a great success.”
After lunch the ladies returned to TTI’s Gibb Gilchrist Building, where they received a TTI overview presentation. They also heard from Assistant Agency Director Steve Roop, who gave an overview of his newly proposed elevated design for a Texas Universal Freight Shuttle System. The ladies also learned more about TTI’s crash testing program from Assistant Agency Director Dean Alberson.
At the close of their visit, the Honorable Ben White, mayor of College Station, briefed the ladies on the Bryan/College Station Mobility Initiative, and they took a tour of the TransLink® Laboratory Research Center, which will be the headquarters for the initiative.