September Commission Meeting Wrap-Up: First phase of I-44 & US-75 interchange in Tulsa moves forward
Top Ten bridge achievement celebrated; $144 million in contracts awarded
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 9, 2020
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Tuesday, Sept. 8 video teleconference meeting include celebration of a Top Ten State achievement for highway bridge conditions, introduction of a new Oklahoma Department of Transportation senior staff member, announcement of a regional award for an innovative ODOT project and updates on major highway projects in the Tulsa and Oklahoma City metro areas. Contracts were awarded for major projects on I-44 in Tulsa County, l-40 in Okfuskee County and US-69 in Muskogee County.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz briefed commissioners on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s recent announcement of Oklahoma’s Top Ten State ranking in highway bridge conditions, the achievement of a longtime ODOT goal to address the structurally deficient bridges on the highway system. The governor addressed the commission by video and noted that Oklahoma improved from 49th place nationally for highway bridge conditions in 2004 to 9th place in 2019. Also acknowledging the feat at the meeting were former Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley and State Reps. Avery Frix and Todd Russ, who chair the House Transportation Committee and the House Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Transportation, respectively.
Gatz commented on several major projects that will significantly affect traffic in the state’s two metropolitan areas. Work began Tuesday to replace six I-40 bridges in Del City and to rehabilitate I-44 south of I-40 and a SH-152/Airport Rd. ramp near Will Rogers World Airport in southwest Oklahoma City. The first phase of reconstruction of the I-44 and US-75 interchange and modernization of the I-44 corridor west of the Arkansas River in Tulsa is expected to begin in 2021 and take more than two years to complete.
Gatz also announced that the agency was recently honored with an award from the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for an innovative partnership with law enforcement and the energy industry to improve safety on SH-33 between Kingfisher and Watonga. The SH-33 Safety Corridor included additional signage, increased enforcement and public education in the community to make drivers more aware of heavy oilfield truck traffic in the area. Rep. Mike Sanders spoke about the project, along with Energize for Safety Coalition Founder and President Tom Robins.
In other news, ODOT Chief Engineer Brian Taylor introduced Shawn Davis as the department’s new Director of Operations succeeding Darren Saliba, who recently retired. Davis’ career in highway construction includes two years with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and 28 years of service with ODOT in various roles in central and western Oklahoma.
The commission voted to award a contract for a $90 million project to widen I-44 and replace five bridges between Union Ave. and the west end of the Arkansas River bridge in Tulsa. This first phase in reconstruction of the I-44 and US-75 interchange is the single largest construction contract for a highway project in Tulsa and made possible thanks to a federal Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) grant awarded to ODOT in 2018.
Commissioners also approved contracts for an $18 million project to rehabilitate nearly six miles of I-40 pavement near Okemah and a $6 million project to resurface eight miles of US-69 between Oktaha and Muskogee.
Commissioners voted to award 17 contracts totaling nearly $144 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 15 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Beckham, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Grady, LeFlore, Logan, Love, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Pittsburg, Tulsa, Woods and Woodward counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the August 2020 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.
The commission met to conduct business in a video teleconference with 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.
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. Next month’s Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5 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.)
I-44 and US-75 interchange project goes to construction
At its Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded a contract for a $90 million project to widen I-44 to six lanes and replace five bridges between the Arkansas River and the western I-244 junction in Tulsa. This is the single largest contract ever awarded for a highway project in Tulsa and the first phase of reconstruction of the I-44 and US-75 interchange.
SH-33 Safety Corridor project receives award
At its Tuesday, Sept. 8 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission learned that an Oklahoma Department of Transportation received an award from the Western Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials for the SH-33 Safety Corridor. The project was a partnership with local agencies and the energy industry to improve signage, enforcement and education to help reduce collisions on SH-33 between Kingfisher and Watonga, which has been experiencing a surge in heavy oilfield traffic due to energy exploration.