May Transportation Commission Wrap-up
I-44 Belle Isle bridge highlights state’s bridge needs; $35.5 million in contracts awarded
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 6, 2015
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, May 4 meeting include an update on the I-44 Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City, recognition of four Oklahoma Department of Transportation employees who recently performed a lifesaving act, approval of contracts for bridge rehabilitation projects on I-35 in Kay County, I-40 Business in Canadian County and SH-50 in Woodward County and awarding of a contract for pavement rehabilitation on US-69 in McIntosh County.
Executive Director Mike Patterson provided an update on ongoing emergency repairs and long-term solutions for I-44 Belle Isle bridge. Commissioners learned that during an ongoing rehabilitation project to remove and replace bad concrete on the bridge’s piers, ODOT discovered much deeper deterioration on about half of the bridge’s total 95 piers due to years of wear and tear and corrosion by salt and water. An additional contractor was brought in to install steel supports under several piers. Some I-44 lanes and ramps have been closed for the safety of for the traveling public.
Commissioners approved an emergency declaration that will allow ODOT to speed up the process of putting a contract out to bid for a permanent repair project. The estimated $7 million repair project will extend the life of the bridge another 15 years. This is in addition to the current $3.5 million rehabilitation project. Patterson noted that because of decades of underfunding, it will still take several years for ODOT to bring bridge conditions back to a manageable state.
“Bridges like the Belle Isle show the need for long-term, stable funding for maintenance, preservation and rehabilitation of the highway infrastructure we construct.” said Patterson.
In honor of Public Service Recognition Week, Patterson also thanked ODOT employees for their work to improve the state and extraordinary performance above and beyond. He specifically recognized four ODOT central office employees who saved the life of a CompSource Mutual employee pinned under her car in February.
Commissioners voted to award contracts for interstate bridge work, including projects to rehabilitate the Hubbard Rd. bridge over I-35 between Tonkawa and Blackwell in Kay County and the I-40 Business bridge over I-40 near El Reno in Canadian County. Each of these contracts had a $2 million base bid and possible financial incentives for early completion. They also approved a more than $4 million contract to rehabilitate the SH-50 bridge over the North Canadian River near Mooreland in Woodward County and a more than $1 million contract for pavement rehabilitation on more than four miles of US-69 near Eufaula in McIntosh County.
In all, commissioners awarded 24 contracts totaling more than $35.5 million to improve bridges, highways, interstates and roads in 22 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Atoka, Bryan, Canadian, Carter, Cleveland, Coal, Comanche, Delaware Harper, Johnston, Kay, Kiowa, Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain, McIntosh, Nowata, Payne, Pushmataha, Washington and Woodward counties.
The eight-member panel, appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards project contracts for road and bridge construction every month. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 1 at 11 a.m. in the R.A. Ward Transportation Building in Oklahoma City.
Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
Work is underway now to reinforce many badly deteriorated piers on the I-44 Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City with steel supports, pictured here. At their Monday, May 4 meeting, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission declared an emergency and authorized the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to expedite the bidding of an additional estimated $7 million repair project for the bridge.
Following the Monday, May 4 meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Mike Patterson speaks with reporters about the condition of the I-44 Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City and the importance of long-term maintenance and preservation of highways and bridges.