, Land Line state legislative editor | Thursday, September 17, 2015
A new eight-year plan approved in Oklahoma will cover improvements to roadways throughout the state.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission has announced approval of a construction plan that will spend about $6.5 billion in state and federal funds on 1,812 “much-needed” projects around the state. The plan is updated annually.
ODOT officials say additional funding from the state Legislature in recent years has covered costs of continued improvements on projects that include structurally deficient bridges, improving pavement conditions and reconstructing outdated interchanges.
Prior to state lawmakers approving additional funding the number of structurally deficient highway bridges was at an all-time high of 1,168 bridges in 2004. The agency reports the number dropped to 372 at the end of 2014. All remaining structurally deficient bridges are expected to be rehabilitated or replaced by 2019.
Executive Director Mike Patterson said it has been a decade since the state made transportation funding a top priority. Over that time he said the state has seen great progress in addressing structurally deficient highway bridges.
“The plan had always been to focus on our critical bridge issue first while recognizing that many highway pavements needs would have to be addressed next,” Patterson said in prepared remarks. “As we get closer to reaching our goal with the bridge program, ODOT can turn the corner and focus more aggressively on improving pavement conditions statewide.”
The new plan will cover the expense of more than $2.4 billion on major improvements to high-volume highways and interstates. It also covers 913 bridge replacements or major rehabilitations and 776 miles of added shoulders and other safety improvements to two-lane highways.
A list of projects is available online.
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