Oklahoma transportation plan sets bridges as priority

| 8/3/2004

Oklahoma transportation officials were told Tuesday, Aug. 2, that bridges are deteriorating at a faster rate than the state can fix them.

The critical nature of the bridges is listed as a priority in the Department of Transportation Commission’s updated $2.5 billion, eight-year construction plan, The Oklahoman reported.

Commissioners on Monday approved adding a year and more than $308 million to the improvement plan, which now runs from fiscal year 2005 to fiscal year 2012.

The plan provides for an additional $208 million for bridge work, adding 97 bridges to those already in the plan.

Other priorities include $81 million for interstates, and $44 million to repair two-lane roads that require shoulders.

Transportation Director Gary Ridley told the newspaper that without bridge repairs the state’s problems would only get worse. Oklahoma has 135 bridges that are more than 80 years old.

“In 10 years, more than 800 bridges will be 80 years old,” Ridley said.

The highway department said of the state’s 6,728 bridges, 1,116 are structurally deficient and 174 have restricted load limits.