May Commission Wrap-Up: Work Zone Warriors recognized, largest contract approved for I-235 work
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 4, 2016
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, May 2, meeting include recognition of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Work Zone Warriors, highlighting of upcoming work zone awareness events, and commission approval of the single largest ODOT contract for work on I-235 in Oklahoma City as well as award of a contract for bridge rehabilitation in Tulsa.
Executive Director Mike Patterson and Director of Operations Paul Green recognized ODOT’s Work Zone Warriors, who represent their coworkers statewide in the agency’s ongoing campaign to call attention to work zone safety. The Work Zone Warriors are featured in public service announcements that highlight the dangers ODOT workers face on the job and ask drivers to help these men and women safely return home to their families every day. Patterson also reminded commissioners of upcoming work zone safety events, including display of the National Work Zone Memorial Wall at Penn Square Mall in Oklahoma City May 13-18 and Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa May 20-22. The wall bears the names of highway workers killed on the job nationwide.
“Our Work Zone Warriors and the hundreds of ODOT workers they represent put themselves at risk every day to maintain our highways,” Patterson said. “I really appreciate their willingness to tell the public about what they do and the close calls they’ve had with traffic and also to share about their private lives and families.”
Work zone safety will remain front and center as drivers in the Oklahoma City metro soon will encounter one of the state’s most challenging highway construction zones thanks to action by the commission. Approved on Monday was the single largest contract in ODOT history for replacement of the N. 50th St. and BNSF railroad bridges over I-235 and widening of the interstate to six lanes between N. 36th St. and N. 50th St. When combined with an earlier resurfacing component and potential financial incentives for early completion, the work is estimated to cost nearly $88 million. Resurfacing is expected to begin later this month and the bridge reconstruction and widening project is expected to take about three years to complete. This is the next phase in the ongoing effort to completely reconstruct the Broadway Extension/I-235/I-44 interchange.
Commissioners awarded a nearly $19 million contract with possible financial incentives for early completion to rehabilitate the W. 23rd St. bridge over I-244 and the BNSF railroad near downtown Tulsa. They also approved funding for 26 rail crossing improvement projects statewide. Since this initiative to accelerate rail crossing improvements began last fall, more than $27.5 million has been approved to improve crossings at 97 locations on highways, city streets and county roads.
Officials from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority presented to the commission on new turnpike routes proposed for the Oklahoma City metro area. By law, ODOT and OTA are separate entities but do coordinate together for long-term planning of the state’s highway system. Commissioners noted that ODOT remains focused on reconstruction and preservation of existing highways rather than construction of brand new roadways and that the agency has neither the plans nor the financial resources to construct new highways in these areas in the foreseeable future. Furthermore, they acknowledged OTA’s efforts to help alleviate traffic congestion and improve safety by adding capacity in certain areas. More information about the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s planned expansions can be found at www.pikepass.com.
In all, commissioners awarded 33 contracts totaling nearly $227 million to improve bridges, highways, interstates and roads in 26 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Bryan, Cotton, Caddo, Cleveland, Coal, Delaware, Garvin, Grady, Kiowa, LeFlore, Lincoln, McClain, McIntosh, Mayes, Muskogee, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pittsburg, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa, and Washita counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the April letting and clicking Go and then Award.
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 meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 6. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Work Zone Warriors, representing hundreds of their coworkers throughout all 77 counties, were recognized by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission at its Monday, May 2, meeting. The Work Zone Warriors are pictured here at the agency’s worker memorial, which displays the names of all 59 ODOT employees who have been killed in the line of duty.
Pictured, from left are Robert Winkle, Billy Stone, Leann Kessen, Chris Bridenstine, Chance Fegett, Scott LeBarre, Kenny Carlisle, Executive Director Mike Patterson, Director of Operations Paul Green, Tanya Adams, Gary White, Justin Jordan, Wendy Love, Charles Crane and Houston Murray.
At its Monday, May 2, meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded the single largest construction contract in Oklahoma Department of Transportation history for replacement of the N. 50th St. and BNSF railroad bridges over I-235, pictured here, and widening of the interstate to six lanes. When combined with an accompanying resurfacing project and potential financial incentives for early completion, the work is estimated to cost about $88 million.
(Editors and News Directors: For more information, call the ODOT Media and Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)