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September Commission Wrap-Up: Purcell/Lexington bridge to be replaced

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

$87 million in contracts awarded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 
September 6, 2017
PR# 17-027

Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Tuesday, Sept. 5 meeting include approval the Purcell/Lexington bridge replacement contract, recognition of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s work zone awareness efforts and an update on the rebalancing of the Eight-year Construction Work Plan. Contracts were also awarded for major projects on a city street in Comanche County, SH-53 in Carter County, US-69 in Pittsburg County and US-412/US-60 in Major County.  

The commission voted to award a contract for an up to $38 million project that includes possible financial incentives for early completion to replace the US-77/SH-39 bridge between Purcell and Lexington. The bridge, which spans the South Canadian River and BNSF railroad, was closed and drivers faced a 45 minute detour for several months in 2014 while ODOT performed emergency repairs to address cracks in the structure. Replacement of the bridge was not scheduled in ODOT’s Eight-year Plan at the time, but major effort was made to expedite the design and environmental processes to get the bridge under contract in three years.

Executive Director Mike Patterson was pleased to announce that ODOT’s work zone awareness efforts received national recognition from the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Standing Committee on Transportation Communications in August. The campaign “Your Life Matters: Drive Like It” received AASHTO’s highest award for public relations programs and the radio public service announcement won first place in its category. The campaign and PSA were produced in-house and cosponsored by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Midstate Traffic Control.

Patterson also updated commissioners on the ongoing challenge of rebalancing the department’s Eight-year Plan, which is expected to go to the commission for approval later in the fall. With a total of $850 million in state funding reductions and diversions since 2010, a large number of upcoming road and bridge projects will be delayed and some will be removed.

“Since the first Eight-year Plan in 2003, ODOT has never removed a project due to lack of funding, but unfortunately this year we’re faced with just that,” he said. “We are not on a sustainable path. Even though we’re on track to address our existing structurally deficient bridges, we have critical pavement, congestion and asset preservation issues that we won’t have the resources to touch.”

Patterson noted that once the state reaches its goal of having less than 1 percent of all highway bridges rated structurally deficient by the end of this decade, ODOT will still have to replace or rehabilitate about 90 bridges each year just to keep up with the aging infrastructure system.

The commission approved contracts, including a more than $8 million city street widening project on S.E. 45th St. in Lawton combining local and federal funds and a nearly $8 million reconstruction of more than seven miles of SH-53 near Springer in Carter County. Also awarded were contracts for a more than $5 million bridge rehabilitation project on US-69 at US-69 Business in McAlester and a nearly $8 million project to replace the US-412/US-60 bridge over the Cimarron River near Cleo Springs.

Commissioners voted to award 19 contracts totaling nearly $87 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 16 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Atoka, Beckham, Carter, Coal, Comanche, Cotton, Custer, Grady, Kiowa, Latimer, McClain, Major, Mayes, Muskogee, Pittsburg and Pontotoc counties. A list of all awarded contracts may be found by visiting, selecting the August 2017 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 commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 2.

Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at

At its Tuesday, Sept. 5 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a contract for replacement of the US-77/SH-39 bridge over the South Canadian River and BNSF railroad between Purcell and Lexington.

Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
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