I-40 Douglas Blvd. groundbreaking ceremony highlights upcoming construction project set for early 2023
Numerous dignitaries and community members gathered at I-40 and Douglas Blvd. in Midwest City Tuesday morning to break ground on a more than $170 million interchange reconstruction project. The event also honored U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, for his years of service to the state and specifically for his role in improving state transportation. The Oklahoma Legislature named the interchange in the senator's honor.
The interchange will be reconstructed as a Single-Point Urban Interchange, also known as a SPUI, which improves traffic flow and safety while minimizing impacts to surrounding properties. This will be the fourth SPUI on the state highway system. Other locations of with a SPUI design include I-40 and Morgan Rd., I-35 and Main St. in Norman, and I-35 and Lindsey St. in Norman.
Additionally, just more than 6 miles of I-40 will be widened to six lanes between Industrial Blvd. and the I-240 interchange. Work also will address nine bridges including raising the Westminster Rd. bridge over I-40 to accommodate modern truck traffic, reconstruction of the Douglas Blvd. bridge and removal of the Engle Rd. bridge.
"Improving bridges on this project is just another example of Oklahoma’s larger bridge story in how the state went from 49th in the nation a short 15 years ago to now No. 5 nationally for good bridge conditions. All Oklahomans should be proud of that and our senior senator has been a big part of why we've been able to achieve that ranking. That means that fewer than 1 percent of Oklahoma’s highway system bridges are structurally deficient and there are no structurally deficient bridges remaining in this area," said Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz.
Other speakers at the event also offered their gratitude for Sen. Inhofe and support for the project.
"It is impossible to truly express the importance of Sen. Inhofe to the state of Oklahoma. Since being elected in 2005, he has been a titan, especially when it comes to transportation, infrastructure and his support for our military," said U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Edmond. ".. For many years he served as chairman and ranking member of the Environment and Public Works committee and worked to craft major pieces of transportation and infrastructure legislation that greatly benefited Oklahoma, including MAP 21 and the FAST Act.
"This interchange is right near the gates to Tinker Air Force Base, making this both a key military and economic investment. In fact, I think it's perfectly fitting that the largest dollar amount contract in Oklahoma Transportation history be named after him."
Midwest City Mayor Matt Dukes also congratulated Sen. Inhofe.
"Senator, words escape me to appreciate the number of years you have served this country, state and, of course, our community. Thanks for being here, this is a great project for our community. It's going to facilitate traffic flow, but better yet, it demonstrates the partnership with the City of Midwest City, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration," Dukes said.
Sen. Inhofe thanked the speakers and crowd for attending. "This is a huge project. It means a lot to me and I thank you for it," Inhofe said.
The project was awarded in October to Allen Contracting Inc. and Shell Construction Co. Inc. Included in the funding is a $51 million federal INFRA grant, which was awarded in June 2021.