December Commission Meeting Wrap-Up Road conditions app, websites ready for winter weather; $108 million in contracts awarded
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Dec. 6, meeting include an update on winter weather preparations, the status of the recently approved federal infrastructure bill, approval of speed limit revisions on I-35 south of Moore, digital message sign installation on the entire I-35 corridor and I-44 bridge rehabilitation near Sheridan Rd. in Tulsa.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz updated the commission on winter weather assistance the Oklahoma Department of Transportation provides the public. Crews are not only geared up and prepared in the field but also on the technological front. A partnership with the crowd-sourced traffic app, Waze, is now an additional benefit to the driving public along with the two current websites and Driving Oklahoma mobile app.
OKTraffic.org displays real-time driving speeds, connects to traffic cameras and message board displays and collects temperature data from 167 road weather sites to help crews predict the need for pretreatment on bridges and surrounding areas. OKRoads.org provides a roads condition map as well as snowplow camera views, helping drivers plan the safest route during severe weather. The app, Drive Oklahoma, gives the driving public a combination of information from the two websites plus additional features and is a free download for Apple and Android devices.
Sec. Gatz cautioned commissioners that DOTs across the country will spend considerable time understanding and identifying the complexities of the funding of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. “Since the highway reauthorization bill was signed into law in November, there’s been a huge amount of confusion about what we did receive in the five-year reauthorization,” Sec. Gatz said. “This bill is the expected reauthorization for the next five years with $1 billion more, much of it for several new program areas. We’ll get guidance and policy to direct how we can spend the additional money.”
The nearly $5 billion plan funds highways in Oklahoma, it also mandates spending in several other areas such as expanding broadband and environmental projects. The Act increased federal highway dollars in Oklahoma by about 20 percent, which ODOT accounted for in the rebalance of its Eight-Year Construction Work Plan the Commission approved in October.
In Monday’s meeting, Commissioners approved changes to speed limits along I-35 south of Moore to provide consistency in the corridor with all sections to now be signed for 65 mph from Goldsby to the Oklahoma County line. New signs are anticipated to be in place by late January. Commissioners also paved the way to place additional digital message signs to alert motorist of changes ahead along the I-35 corridor south of Moore. These signs are estimated to be in position by the end of August.
Additionally, commissioners recognized the recent statewide award from the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors. The industry group honored ODOT’s District 5 Clinton Residency with the 2021 Pharaoh Award for the construction of the SH-6 Diverging Diamond Interchange across I-40 in Elk City in Beckham County. The Pharaoh Award is presented for the highest quality bridge structure in the state of Oklahoma in the past year. The $16 million project also reconstructed the I-40 on- and off-ramps at SH-6.
Commissioners approved a more than $3 million contract to Built Right Construction LLC of Savanna for I-44 bridge rehabilitation at the Union Pacific Railroad and Sheridan Rd. in Tulsa.
Commissioners voted to award 39 contracts totaling more than $108 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 32 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Atoka, Blaine, Caddo, Carter, Coal, Custer, Delaware, Garfield, Garvin, Haskell, Jackson, Kay, Kingfisher, Kiowa, LeFlore, Lincoln, Logan, Mayes, McClain, McCurtain, Murray, Noble, Oklahoma, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Stephens, Texas, Tillman, Tulsa, Washington and Washita counties.
The public may access a list of all awarded contracts at www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the November 2021 a.m. letting, clicking Submit, then Award at the bottom of the page.
Recordings of the commission’s meetings are available here.
The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leadership to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards contracts monthly for road and bridge construction.
The next Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Jan. 3. The meeting also will be available to view live on the web.
Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details may be viewed at www.odot.org.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved Monday a speed limit change along a section of I-35 between Goldsby and Moore to make the speed limits consistent in this area. New signs are anticipated to be in place late January.
The Association of Oklahoma General Contractors recently honored ODOT’s District 5 Clinton Residency with the 2021 Pharaoh Award for the SH-6 Diverging Diamond Interchange across I-40 in Elk City in Beckham County. Pictured are, from left, District 5 Engineer Brent Almquist, District 5 Construction Engineer Will Snipes, Clinton Resident Engineer Dax Sawyer, District 5 Stan Hinds, Commission Chairman Gene McKown, District 5 Commissioner David Dyson, Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz and AOGC Executive Director Bobby Stem.