Nearly $8 billion in upgrades heading to Oklahoma highway system
Thanks to an influx of federal grants and additional state funding, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is maximizing new dollars to plan for more than 1,600 critically needed highway construction and safety projects in the next eight years.
With more than 300 new projects added to the Eight-Year Construction Plan for 2022-2029 approved on Monday, Oct. 4, the department will commit an additional nearly $2 billion into highway infrastructure and the state’s economy. This brings a total impact of nearly $8 billion by the end of the decade. Commissioners also approved a $484 million investment in preventative maintenance through the companion Asset Preservation Plan for 2022-2025.
“Oklahoma truly has some great momentum in bringing our highway system back to a manageable condition, and this year’s update to the Eight-Year Plan and Asset Preservation Plan will help us continue to preserve and enhance the transportation system,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “We remain laser focused on maintaining Oklahoma’s Top Ten national status for good bridge conditions and will continue our work completing corridor upgrades, adding shoulders to rural, two-lane highways and improving pavement conditions. ODOT greatly appreciates the steadfast support of the Transportation Commission, Gov. Kevin Stitt, the Legislature and our congressional delegation that makes these investments in Oklahoma’s future possible.”
With the restoration of $180 million in state appropriated funding and an anticipated 2023 increase in the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund annual cap from $575 million to $590 million, ODOT was able to budget for more critically needed projects in this plan update.
Additionally, Oklahoma is one of the first states to take advantage of the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Rural Project Initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation to accelerate rural, two-lane improvement projects already in the Eight-Year Plan. Use of low-interest TIFIA loans helps increase funding for Oklahoma to add more projects into the plan.
Another benefit to the plan was the department securing a more than $72 million in additional federal grant funding to add capacity in FFY 2022 at I-40 and Douglas Blvd. near Midwest City and to reconstruct the US-281 Bridgeport Bridge at the Canadian/Caddo county line — one of the state’s top Route 66 attractions. Oklahoma also benefits from a $50 million grant secured by the Texas Department of Transportation to improve I-35 at the Red River.
FFY 2022-2029 Eight-Year Construction Work Plan
- Nearly $8 billion in total investment
- 1,657 total projects
- Addresses 685 bridges through rehabilitation or replacement, including the last few remaining structurally deficient bridges
- Nearly 2,296 miles of roadway improvements, which includes more than 1,013 miles of safety improvements on two-lane highways with deficient or no shoulders.
FY2022-2025 Asset Preservation Plan
- $484 million in total investment
- 349 total projects
- Rehabilitation of 168 highway bridges
- Nearly 1,200 miles of pavement resurfacing
Significant urban projects in the Eight-Year Plan include:
- Oklahoma City: The advancement of an estimated $90 million in combined projects to complete reconstruction of the I-35/I-240 Crossroads interchange;
- Oklahoma City: Additional estimated $20 million in improvements to the I-40/I-44 interchange added in FFY 2029, among several other projects planned for the area;
- Oklahoma City: Estimated $48 million in upgrades to the SH-152/I-44/I-240 interchange added in FFY 2029;
- Tulsa: Estimated $20 million additional phase of I-44/US-75 interchange improvements added in FFY 2029; and
- Lawton: Estimated $16 million in operational and access improvements at US-62 and Goodyear Blvd. in partnership with the City of Lawton added in FFY 2025.
Significant rural projects in the Eight-Year Plan include:
- Washita Co.: US-183 four-lane project from SH-55 at Rocky to Cordell, estimated $22 million, advanced to FFY 2022.
- Garfield Co.: US-412/US-64 resurfacing between Enid and I-35 at an estimated $9 million in FFY 2029;
- Love Co.: Purchase of right-of-way and relocation of utilities beginning in FFY 2029 for future widening of I-35 near Thackerville;
- Marshall Co.: US-70 realignment in Madill, estimated nearly $50 million with the first right-of-way project scheduled for FY 2022; and
- McCurtain Co.: Interim traffic signal project at four key locations on US-259 between Hochatown and Broken Bow, $1.5 million scheduled for FFY 2022 followed by two additional major reconstruction projects in this area for FFY 2024 and FFY 2028 at an estimated $42 million.
The updated Eight-Year Plan and companion Asset Preservation Plan addresses the remaining structurally deficient bridges and hundreds of older bridges in fair condition, which will keep Oklahoma’s network of highway bridges in a manageable condition. As of August, Oklahoma ranks No. 7 nationally for highway bridges in good condition, improving from as low as 49th place in 2004. Thanks to improvements in state funding by the Legislature and a commitment to prioritizing critical needs in the Eight-Year Plan, the department has reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges to 67, or less than 1 percent, of the state’s 6,800 highway bridges.
Since 2003, the Eight-Year Plan has provided a transparent view for the public about planned highway projects and is updated annually to balance numerous factors including conservative projections for state and federal funding, critical needs and pre-construction project timelines. The Asset Preservation Plan focuses on key, state-funded maintenance projects to extend the lifespan of pavements and bridge structures. The public can view both plans by year and by district maps at www.odot.org.