Coming to a highway near you: ODOT’s new eight-year plan approved Test
A decade ago, Oklahoma ranked among the worst states in the nation for bad bridges, with no solution in sight. Thanks to renewed support and record investment in transportation by state leaders and the public, those conditions are changing for the better as the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is more focused than ever before on modernizing the state’s system of highways and bridges.
At its Monday, Sept. 8 meeting, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission gave their approval to ODOT’s Federal Fiscal Year 2015-2022 Eight-year Construction Work Plan, which includes approximately $6.3 billion for nearly 2,000 much-needed highway and bridge projects to address the backlog of critical transportation improvements and carry Oklahoma into the next decade.
Together with the State Fiscal Year 2015-2018 Asset Preservation Plan, also presented on Monday, the Eight-year Plan continues the decade-long effort by ODOT to reduce the number of structurally deficient highway bridges, which has decreased from an all-time high of 1,168 bridges in 2004 to 468 at the end of 2013. Continued incremental increases to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Drivers Safety fund will allow ODOT to continue to make great strides in addressing structurally deficient bridges, improving pavement quality and adding paved shoulders to two-lane highways.
“ODOT is committed to staying the course so Oklahoma can begin the next decade as one of the top states for good highway bridges in the nation,” Executive Director Mike Patterson said. “We appreciate the vision of the governor and state legislature for continued improvement to our state’s transportation system.”
Highlights of the FFY 2015-2022 Eight-year Construction Work Plan include:
· $6.3 billion in improvements
· 1,947 total projects
· 935 bridge projects
· 743 miles of shoulders and other improvements to two-lane highways
· 725 miles of major improvements to high-volume highways and interstates
One of the most notable projects included in the new Eight-year Plan is replacement of the James C. Nance bridge between Purcell and Lexington on US-77/SH-39. The more than 75 year-old bridge was closed for more than four months earlier this year for emergency repairs and is now load posted at 36 tons. Construction of a new bridge, which was originally thought to be 10 years away, is being expedited by ODOT and has been advanced to Federal Fiscal Year 2018 in the plan.
The plan also continues investment in major metro area highway and interstate projects. New projects include five miles of pavement rehabilitation on I-44 in southwest Oklahoma City and $13 million rehabilitation of several US-75 bridges at the southeast corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop in Tulsa, both scheduled for FFY 2022.
First implemented in its current format in 2003, ODOT’s Eight-year Plan focuses on addressing the state’s greatest transportation needs in an accountable and businesslike manner. The project selection process is very rigorous, as transportation commissioners work with ODOT engineers to identify the state’s most critical highway and bridge projects and create a balanced statewide plan. Each year, Eight-year Plan is updated to reflect project completions, adjustments in projected revenue and changes in construction costs. As the previous fiscal year comes off of the plan, another year is added based on forecasting of available federal and state funding.
The Four-year Asset Preservation Plan is also updated each year with improvements designed extend the life cycle of highways and bridges through timely preventative maintenance. Continued investment in maintenance and preservation of the state’s transportation system is much more effective and efficient than deferring maintenance, which often results in costly reconstruction in the future.
(Editors and News Directors: For more information call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000. For a copy of ODOT’s FFY 2015-2022 Eight-Year Construction Work Plan, click on www.okladot.state.ok.us/cwp-8-year-plan/index.htm.)