January Commission Wrap-Up: Commission gives approval to school zone projects,
Gilcrease Expressway project financing partnership authorized
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jan. 9, 2020
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Jan. 6, meeting include commission approval of several Oklahoma Department of Transportation school zone safety projects and an item related to the agency’s partnership with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa. Commissioners also heard updates on federal transportation funding and the state’s first transit plan.
Commissioners voted to approve use of federal funds for several school zone safety projects, including installation of signs with solar-powered warning beacons near schools on SH-4 in Mustang and on US-77 and SH-19 in Pauls Valley. Other school zone signage locations approved include SH-48 in Bearden, SH-270 in McLoud, US-77 in Paoli and SH-66 in Stroud.
The commission voted to authorize Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz to negotiate an agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to help finance the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa using a loan through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program. With ODOT’s assistance, OTA is seeking a TIFIA loan to provide the most favorable payment and interest terms to help the authority fund construction of the five-mile segment of the new highway between I-44 and US-412, which will be paid off with toll revenues. Other project partners include the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Indian Nations Council of Governments and the Federal Highway Administration. Gatz also leads OTA as its executive director. For more information about the project, including cost and schedule, visit the OTA’s project webpage at www.drivingforwardok.com.
“This segment of the Gilcrease Expressway has been challenging to fund and this arrangement is a great example of local, state and federal government entities working together to leverage their resources to bring a major project forward that would have never happened otherwise,” Gatz said.
Gatz updated commissioners on the recently approved federal appropriations bill that authorizes funding for Federal Fiscal Year 2020. In December, Congress and the president agreed on a long-term appropriations measure that will provide certainty in federal transportation funding for the remainder of FY 2020, allowing ODOT to continue advertising projects for bid and awarding contracts with federal funds through the fiscal year.
Finally, Gatz reported to commissioners on stakeholder meetings taking place statewide as part of development of the Oklahoma Public Transit Policy Plan. The department and the Oklahoma Transit Association are hosting regional meetings in several cities to get local input on needs from transit providers and users to help shape the state’s transit program. Meetings in McAlester and Lawton occurred in December and upcoming meetings are planned for Pryor, Durant, Oklahoma City, Woodward and Ponca City. Meeting details and more information about the plan can be found at www.oktransitplan.org.
The department also welcomed an award from the American Concrete Pavement Association for a pavement rehabilitation project on I-35 and I-40 in Oklahoma County that recently earned a National Gold Award for excellence in design and construction. The $10.5 million project designed by ODOT and built by Duit Construction, of Edmond, addressed sections of I-35 between Edmond and northeast Oklahoma City and I-40 on the city’s west side.
As is customary, no new highway projects were advertised for bid in December, so no construction contracts were awarded this month. Projects advertised for bid in January can be viewed at www.odot.org/contracts
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, Feb. 3. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
At its Monday, Jan. 6 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved the use of federal funding for several Oklahoma Department of Transportation school zone safety projects, including installation of signs with flashing warning beacons in school zones on SH-4 in Mustang and on US-77 and SH-19 in Pauls Valley. School zone speed limits vary by location.
At their Monday, Jan. 6 meeting, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission voted to authorize Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Tim Gatz to negotiate a financing agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation for the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa. The partnership between ODOT and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, which is building the project, will make use of a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan to help fund construction. Other project partners include the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, Indian Nation Council of Governments and the Federal Highway Administration.
An award from the American Concrete Pavement Association was presented at the Monday, Jan. 6 meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Duit Construction, of Edmond, for a recently-completed pavement rehabilitation project on I-35 and I-40 in Oklahoma County. Pictured, from left, are ACPA Oklahoma/Arkansas Chapter Executive Director Brent Burwell, District 4 Commissioner Don Freymiller, ODOT Division Four Engineer Trenton January, Assistant Edmond Resident Engineer Brian Rivera, Division Four Construction Engineer Rick Howland, Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz and Transportation Commission Chairman Gene McKown.
(Editors and News Directors: For questions about the Gilcrease Expressway project, contact the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority at 405-425-3600. The 2019 Year in Review, highlighting major milestones and transportation news from the past year, can be seen at https://vimeo.com/381534041. For questions, please call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)