November Commission Meeting Wrap-Up: Commission receives update regarding federal funding measures ongoing in D.C.; $95 million in contracts awarded
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Nov. 1, meeting include an update on federal funding measures considered in Washington, D.C., the introduction of November’s safety campaign regarding severe weather preparation, approval of transportation interagency agreement and the awarding of contracts for projects such as the widening of US-270 Northwest Passage connecting Woodward and Oklahoma City, resurfacing US-60 in Osage County and I-40 countermeasures for wrong-way driving between Oklahoma City and the Arkansas state line.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz updated the commission on the status of budget talks in the U.S. Congress affecting federal transportation funding, including reauthorization of the federal highway program and ongoing debate over a larger infrastructure bill. He noted that a short-term funding extension passed in late October will preserve federal transportation funding through Dec. 3, but that a long-term bill is desperately needed to help state DOTs fund projects into the new year.
“We are grateful for the foresight they had to provide an extension and carry us through the month of November,” Gatz said. “It will get increasingly challenging to conduct business from one short-term extension to the next because we receive only a portion of funding whenever Congress does an extension.”
Gatz also highlighted the need for the public to prepare for upcoming winter weather and to use good judgement when deciding whether to travel during winter storms. Gatz noted that ODOT is prepared with fully-stocked salt sheds and equipment ready to perform snow and ice removal. As part of an ongoing safety education awareness effort, ODOT and OTA are sharing reminders on social media this month about driver safety and severe weather preparation.
Commissioners voted to approve an interagency agreement of shared personnel services between ODOT and OTA as part of the modernization efforts in the transportation cabinet. This agreement serves as a framework for cost sharing when agencies share services.
The commission voted to award a more than $12 million contract for the next phase of reconstruction and widening of the US-270 Northwest Passage in Dewey County, which is part of an ongoing effort to connect Woodward and Central Oklahoma with a four-lane highway. Commissioners also approved contracts for the installation of I-40 countermeasures to prevent wrong-way drivers between Oklahoma City and the Arkansas state line and a nearly $5 million contract to reconstruct five miles of US-60 near Osage Hills State Park in Osage County.
Commissioners voted to award 32 contracts totaling $95 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 29 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Adair, Canadian, Cleveland, Coal, Cotton, Creek, Custer, Dewey, Ellis, Garvin, Grant, Greer, Kingfisher, Latimer, Lincoln, McIntosh, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, Texas, Tulsa, Wagoner and Washita counties. The public can access a list of all awarded contracts at www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the October 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, Dec. 6. The meeting will also 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.
Construction will begin soon on a a project to install I-40 countermeasures to prevent wrong-way drivers between Oklahoma City and the Arkansas state line thanks to action by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission at its Monday, Nov. 1 meeting. The commissioners voted to award a $2.3 million contract to Direct Traffic Control, Inc. from Muskogee to install the safety measures. The I-40 off-ramp at US-64 in Sallisaw (mm 311) is pictured here and is one of the I-40 exits that will receive countermeasure upgrades.