February Commission Wrap-Up: Public transit survey now available online,
$144 million in contracts awarded
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 6, 2020
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Feb. 3, meeting include reports on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s ongoing effort to get public input on the state’s first transit plan and future interstate projects in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, as well as an update on a national initiative to combat human trafficking and announcement of federal grant opportunities. Contracts were awarded for projects on I-35 in Garvin, Kay and McClain counties, as well as US-77 in Kay County, US-69 in Pittsburg County and SH-20 in Tulsa County.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz updated commissioners on several ongoing efforts to get public input on transportation programs and projects. As the agency continues to develop the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan in partnership with the Oklahoma Transit Association, ODOT is asking the public to help identify transit needs and preferences by taking a short online survey, which is available through March 4. Additionally, ODOT has been hosting regional stakeholder meetings with transit providers and users, with two more meetings scheduled for Feb. 6 in Ponca City and Feb. 10 in Woodward. The survey and information about the meetings can be found at www.oktransitplan.org.
“Our public transit survey is available and we want everyone’s feedback, whether in rural or urban areas, to help us develop the transit plan.” Gatz said. “This is all to better understand who is using transit, where and why they’re traveling and what we can work on with transit providers to enhance the level of service they’re providing.”
He also noted that ODOT is seeking the public’s feedback on two proposed interstate projects: I-44 and US-75 interchange reconstruction in Tulsa and I-35 reconstruction between the I-40 “Fort Smith Junction” and I-44 in Oklahoma City. Information about these projects and public input opportunities can be found at www.odot.org by clicking Programs and Projects and then Public Hearings and Meetings.
Gatz informed the commission that, at the governor’s direction, ODOT and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority are joining the U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking” initiative. The agencies will work with partners in the transportation industry to educate employees to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking, increase awareness among the traveling public and share data with other agencies.
He also mentioned that the USDOT recently announced the availability of federal grants through the competitive Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program. The grants are available for projects that advance regional and national economic goals, and a portion of the total amount awarded must be allocated to rural projects. Oklahoma has been successful in seeking federal grants in recent years, with an INFRA grant in 2018 being awarded to ODOT for the planned reconstruction of I-44 west of the Arkansas River in Tulsa.
The commission voted to approve three contracts for I-35 improvements, including a nearly $17 million project to reconstruct two miles of the interstate north of SH-59 near Wayne and bridge rehabilitation on I-35 at Salt Fork Creek near Tonkawa and SH-19 in Pauls Valley. Also awarded was a $9 million contract to resurface and add paved shoulders to nearly five miles of US-77 near Newkirk, a $6 million contract to rehabilitate nearly four miles of US-69 near McAlester and $15.5 million to reconstruct a segment of SH-20 between Skiatook and Collinsville.
Commissioners voted to award 36 contracts totaling nearly $144 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 28 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Blaine, Carter, Cleveland, Custer, Dewey, Garvin, Haskell, Johnston, Kay, LeFlore, Logan, Love, McClain, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Noble, Osage, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Roger Mills, Rogers, Seminole, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner and Woods counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the January 2020 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.
The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leadership to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards monthly contracts for road and bridge construction. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, March 2. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
ODOT and OTA joining effort to combat human trafficking
At the Monday, Feb. 3 meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, who is Executive Director of both the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turpnike Authority, announced that two agencies are partnering and joining a national effort to combat human trafficking. As part of the Transportation Leaders Against Human Trafficking intiative, ODOT and OTA will focus on training their statewide workforces to recognize and report the signs of human trafficking and share information with other agencies. Pictured here at the pledge signing, from left, are ODOT Deputy Director Dawn Sullivan, Chief Engineer Brian Taylor, Director of Operations Darren Saliba, Interagency Liaison Terri Angier, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz, OTA Assistant Executive Director of Finance and Administration Alan Freeman, Assitant Executive Director of Maintenance, Engineering, & Construction Joe Echelle and Assistant Executive Director of Customer Service and Toll David Machamer.
Public invited to take online transit survey
A short online survey is now available to the public at www.oktransitplan.org to help the Oklahoma Department of Transportation gain insight into mobility concerns and needs as it develops the state’s first transit plan in partnership with the Oklahoma Transit Association. At their Monday, Feb. 3 meeting, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission learned that, in addition to the survey, ODOT has been conducting community outreach at several regional meetings and has two more meetings scheduled in Ponca City and Woodward in February.
(Editors and News Directors: For questions, please call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)