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Major Interstate Improvements Coming to OKC, Del City this Summer; $157M in Contracts Awarded

New turn lanes on US-259 in Hochatown near Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County were opened to traffic.
New turn lanes on US-259 in Hochatown near Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County were opened to traffic.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s recent video teleconference meeting include approval of contracts for two major interstate projects in the Oklahoma City metro area, a report on state funding for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) in the coming fiscal year, a briefing on the financing arrangement for the Gilcrease Expressway in Tulsa, introduction of ODOT’s new Division Three Engineer and updates on two project completions in McCurtain and Delaware counties.

Commission members approved contracts for two major interstate projects that will greatly affect traffic in the Oklahoma City metro area, with work on both expected to begin in late summer. The first is a nearly $80-million project to replace six bridges on I-40 at Crutcho Creek, S.E. 15th Street and Sooner Road in Del City. The bridges are in poor condition and require constant maintenance and repairs, and five of the structures are rated structurally deficient. The second is a nearly $28-million project to rehabilitate the concrete pavement and nine bridges on I-44 between I-40 and just south of I-240 on the city’s southwest side. The rehabilitation work will require lane closures on this very busy corridor that serves Will Rogers World Airport.

“These six bridges on I-40 in Del City are some of the worst we have anywhere on the interstate in Oklahoma, so we’re really looking forward to getting those replaced with brand-new infrastructure,” said Tim Gatz, Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director.

Gatz briefed commissioners on state funding for transportation in State Fiscal Year 2021. The budget agreement approved by the Legislature for the coming fiscal year included a $180-million reduction to ODOT’s highway construction program, with authorization for the agency to issue $200 million in bonds to help keep projects on track and to make bond payments for the first year. He also reported that the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act loan for the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa was approved by the federal government. The project is being built by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and includes ODOT as a partner along with other local entities.

Commissioners were introduced to Ron Brown, who was recently named Division Engineer for ODOT’s Division Three, which is based in Ada. He will oversee all highway operations in 11 south-central Oklahoma counties, including the southern portion of the Oklahoma City metro area. Brown has been with ODOT for 30 years, most recently serving as the Construction Engineer for Division Three.

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Finally, Gatz highlighted the work by ODOT field division workers and construction contractors to fully open two highways to traffic in advance of Memorial Day and the start of the summer tourist season. Crews were able to complete work on new turn lanes for US-259 in Hochatown near Beavers Bend State Park in McCurtain County to help address congestion and safety issues related to the influx of tourists each year. Additionally, the new SH-85 bridge over Duck Creek near Ketchum in Delaware County was opened, restoring access to residents, businesses, and tourists on the north side of Grand Lake.

Commissioners voted to award 35 contracts totaling more than $157 million to improve highways, roads, and bridges in 28 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Choctaw, Comanche, Custer, Delaware, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Seminole, Pontotoc, Stephens, Texas, Tulsa, Washington, and Washita counties.

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