September Commission Wrap-Up: Commission hears report on ODOT response to earthquake
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 7, 2016
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Tuesday, Sept. 7 meeting include updates on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s response to a recent earthquake, preparation of the new Eight-year Construction Work Plan and emergency repairs to a SH-22 bridge in Bryan County, as well as commission approval of a statewide traffic improvement project on I-35 and I-40. Contracts were awarded for major projects to improve the Inner Dispersal Loop and US-75 in Tulsa, US-412 in Rogers County, US-70 in McCurtain County, and I-35 in Kay and Noble counties.
Executive Director Mike Patterson reported that all highway bridges were safe for traffic following the 5.6 earthquake near Pawnee on Saturday, Sept. 3. Immediately following the tremor, ODOT crews from two field divisions mobilized to inspect more than 180 highway bridges within a 30 mile radius of the epicenter. Inspections revealed that two bridges had cosmetic damage, but remained structurally safe. The agency also offered assistance to local governments for the inspection of city and county bridges.
“Over the last few years, ODOT has been working to create a refined earthquake inspection protocol with the help of the Oklahoma Geological Survey, California Department of Transportation and other experts,” Patterson said. “The agency was well-prepared, our crews responded quickly and our state’s transportation infrastructure is safe and secure.”
The agency is in the process of rebalancing its Eight-year Construction Work Plan for Federal Fiscal Years 2017-2024. Patterson noted that ODOT plans to bring the updated plan to the commission for approval in October. Due to the state budget shortfall, $367 million in cuts were made to state transportation, with ODOT being authorized to sell $200 million in bonds to help pay for some projects already scheduled in the Eight-year Plan.
Patterson also reported on the status of the the SH-22 bridge over US-69 in Caddo in Bryan County that was damaged by a truck transporting sulfuric acid in late August. The highway was quickly decontaminated by other agencies and inspected by ODOT. A $300,000 project to repair damage to the bridge beams and deck is scheduled to begin in mid-September and will take about two months to complete. SH-22 is currently open to one lane of traffic at US-69, but will close during the repair project.
The commission gave its approval to a planned statewide traffic improvement project to install signs on I-35 and I-40 to encourage motorists to stay in the right lane. The signs are in support of state law that requires slower drivers to be conscious of passing traffic by moving to the right and impeding the left lane. The project to install these signs will use federal funds and is expected to go to bid in early 2017.
Commissioners voted to award contracts for several highway projects in the Tulsa metro area, including rehabilitation of four bridges on the southeast corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop and resurfacing on US-75 from south of the I-244/Red Fork Split. Additionally, they awarded a contract to rehabilitate the US-412 bridge over the Verdigris River east of Tulsa in Rogers County. The commission also approved a nearly $11.6 million contract to reconstruct and widen US-70 near Valliant in McCurtain County and an $8.8 million contract to replace three bridges over I-35 in Kay and Noble counties.
In all, commissioners awarded 30 contracts totaling $101 million to improve bridges, highways, interstates and roads in 19 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Beaver, Caddo, Creek, Garvin, Grady, Hughes, Jackson, Johnston, Kay, Kiowa, McCurtain, Muskogee, Okmulgee, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Rogers, Tulsa and Woodward counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the August 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 regular meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 3.
Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details may be viewed at www.odot.org.
US-412 over the Verdigris River east of Tulsa in Rogers County will be improved thanks to action by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission at its Tuesday, Sept. 6 meeting. Commissioners voted to award a $14.7 million contract that includes possible financial incentives for early completion to rehabilitate the eastbound US-412 bridge.
At its Tuesday, Sept. 6 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a planned Oklahoma Department of Transportation project to place signs on I-35 and I-40 statewide to encourage motorists to use the right lane and not impede left lane traffic. The project to install these signs will use federal funds and is expected to go to bid in early 2017.