May Commission Meeting Wrap-Up: I-35 to be widened to six lanes near Thackerville; $71 million in contracts awarded
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 5, 2022
Press Release #22-017
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, May 2, meeting include an update on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s effort to secure a federal loan to speed up rural two-lane highway improvements, a recap of April’s Work Zone Safety Awareness activities and recognition of three high-quality highway paving projects. Contracts were awarded for major projects on I-35 in Love County, I-35 in Oklahoma County and US-169 in Tulsa County.
The meeting began with recognition of three ODOT highway projects in Northwestern Oklahoma that recently earned top awards for quality construction by the Oklahoma Asphalt Pavement Association. The projects receiving first place awards from OAPA were US-183/US-270 four-lane expansion between Woodward and Seiling and US-412 four-lane resurfacing between Woodward and Mooreland in Woodward County and SH-33/SH-3 resurfacing near Watonga in Blaine County.
Gatz informed commissioners that the Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority is expected to consider approval of an agreement this week with the U.S. Department of Transportation for a low-interest federal loan benefitting ODOT’s Rural 2-lane Advancement and Management Program. If approved, the loan from USDOT will allow more projects to be built now and paid off during the next 20 years. With construction costs expected to continue to rapidly increase, RAAMP will help deliver the safety benefits of added paved shoulders on rural two-lane highways quicker and at a lower cost to taxpayers.
Commissioners voted to award a more than $11 million contract to widen I-35 from four to six lanes between US-77 North (mm 1) and Rogers Rd./Winstar Blvd. (mm 3) just north of the Texas state line near Thackerville. Two lanes of I-35 will remain open in each direction during construction, which is expected to take about six months to complete. This widening project will connect with an upcoming partnership project by the Texas Department of Transportation, the Chickasaw Nation and ODOT to widen I-35 from Gainesville across the Red River into Oklahoma.
“Texas is in the final phases of widening I-35 to eight lanes from Dallas north to the Red River, which tells us what’s coming in terms of traffic growth along that corridor,” Gatz said. “We have to get I-35 widened to six lanes in Southern Oklahoma and must have solutions in place to provide reliever routes to help manage that increased traffic coming through the Oklahoma City metro area.”
Gatz acknowledged the national Work Zone Safety Awareness effort in April and the need for extra caution and complete attention in highway work zones. In addition to driver education and outreach efforts by ODOT and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, a memorial event was held to honor the state’s 72 fallen transportation workers. Gatz also noted to commissioners that the first weekend of May saw nine separate fatality crashes on Oklahoma highways and turnpikes. To bring traffic fatality numbers down, he stressed that driver behavior must change and emphasized wearing seat belts, putting aside distractions behind the wheel and observing speed limits.
The commission approved two contracts for significant pavement upgrades in Oklahoma’s two major metro areas. This includes a project to resurface nearly four miles of asphalt pavement on I-35 between I-40 and I-44 in Oklahoma City and rehabilitation of nearly five miles of concrete pavement on northbound US-169 between Owasso and Collinsville.
Commissioners voted to award 35 contracts totaling $71 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 33 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Atoka, Beckham, Blaine, Bryan, Canadian, Carter, Custer, Garfield, Greer, Harper, Hughes, Jefferson, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Latimer, Love, Major, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pawnee, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Pushmataha, Sequoyah, Stephens, Tillman, Tulsa and Woodward counties.
The public may access a list of all awarded contracts at www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the April 2022 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, June 6. 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.