June Commission Meeting Wrap-Up: Major interstate improvements coming to OKC, Del City this summer;
$157 million in contracts awarded
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, June 1 video teleconference meeting include approval of contracts for two major interstate projects in the Oklahoma City metro area, a report on state funding for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in the coming fiscal year, a briefing on the financing arrangement for the Gilcrease Expressway in Tulsa, introduction of ODOT’s new Division Three Engineer and updates on two significant project completions in McCurtain and Delaware counties.
The commission met to conduct business in a video teleconference with all nine commission members attending remotely as a public health precaution due to COVID-19. A recording of this meeting can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/odot.
Commission members approved contracts for two major interstate projects that will greatly affect traffic in the Oklahoma City metro area, with work on both expected to begin in late summer. The first is a nearly $80 million project to replace six bridges on I-40 at Crutcho Creek, S.E. 15th St. and Sooner Rd. in Del City. The bridges are in poor condition and require constant maintenance and repairs, and five of the structures are rated structurally deficient. The second is a nearly $28 million project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement and nine bridges on I-44 between I-40 and just south of I-240 on the city’s southwest side. The rehabilitation work will require lane closures on this very busy corridor that serves Will Rogers World Airport.
“These six bridges on I-40 in Del City are some of the worst we have anywhere on the interstate in Oklahoma, so we’re really looking forward to getting those replaced with brand-new infrastructure,” Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “The work on I-40 in Del City and on I-44 will be very disruptive to metro-area traffic, so we ask drivers to be patient and mindful in these work zones and others statewide.”
Gatz briefed commissioners on state funding for transportation in State Fiscal Year 2021. The budget agreement approved by the Legislature for the coming fiscal year included a $180 million reduction to ODOT’s highway construction program, with authorization for the agency to issue $200 million in bonds to help keep projects on track and to make bond payments for the first year. He also reported that the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act loan for the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa was approved by the federal government in May. The project is being built by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and includes ODOT as a partner along with other local entities.
Commissioners were introduced to Ron Brown, who was recently named division engineer for ODOT’s Division Three, which is based in Ada. He will oversee all highway operations in 11 south-central Oklahoma counties, including the southern portion of the Oklahoma City metro area. Brown has been with ODOT for 30 years, most recently serving as the construction engineer for Division Three.
Finally, Gatz highlighted the work by ODOT field division workers and construction contractors to fully open two important highways to traffic in advance of Memorial Day and the start of the summer tourist season. Crews were able to complete work on new turn lanes for US-259 in Hochatown near Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County to help address congestion and safety issues related to the influx of tourists each year. Additionally, the new SH-85 bridge over Duck Creek near Ketchum in Delaware County was opened in time for the holiday weekend, restoring access to residents, businesses and tourists on the north side of Grand Lake.
Commissioners voted to award 35 contracts totaling more than $157 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 28 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Choctaw, Comanche, Custer, Delaware, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Seminole, Pontotoc, Stephens, Texas, Tulsa, Washington and Washita counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the May 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 contracts for road and bridge construction monthly. The commission’s next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, July 6, and will be available for the public to view live on the web. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.
(Editors and News Directors: For questions, please call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)
Work to replace the worst interstate bridges in the Oklahoma City metro area will be underway soon, thanks to the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s approval of a contract for a nearly $80 million project to replace the I-40 bridges over Crutcho Creek, S.E. 15th St., pictured here, and Sooner Rd. in Del City. The six bridges have decks and structural members that are in poor condition, requiring constant maintenance and repairs that frequently disrupt traffic along the interstate corridor.
New turn lanes on US-259 in Hochatown near Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County were opened to traffic in time for the busy Memorial Day weekend thanks to quick work by construction contractors under the direction of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission heard at their Monday, June 1 meeting.
The new SH-85 bridge over Duck Creek near Ketchum in Delaware County was recently opened to traffic, just in time for Memorial Day holiday traffic at Grand Lake, members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission learned at their Monday, June 1 meeting. The bridge replaced an outdated and narrow structure that was more than a century old.