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Oklahoma DOT Launches Work Zone Safety Campaign; Awards Nearly $130M in Contracts

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a nearly $75-million contract for reconstruction of the US-62 bridges over the Arkansas River in Muskogee.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a nearly $75-million contract for reconstruction of the US-62 bridges over the Arkansas River in Muskogee.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s recent meeting include unveiling of a spring work zone safety awareness campaign by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) and Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA), an update on federal transportation funding following recent congressional action, and consideration of programming items for future traffic safety and highway signage projects. Contracts were awarded for major projects on US-62 in Muskogee County, US-259 in McCurtain County, and US-69 in Atoka and Bryan counties.

Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz unveiled a spring work zone safety awareness campaign created by ODOT, OTA, and other traffic safety partners to help remind motorists of their responsibility to be safe in highway work zones. He noted that in the past five years, 91 people, including one ODOT worker, were killed and 1,455 people were injured in more than 8,000 collisions in Oklahoma work zones.

“Drivers can expect about 275 work zones on Oklahoma highways and turnpikes through the spring and summer, ranging from daily maintenance operations to long-term major highway reconstruction,” Gatz said. “We need everyone to give their undivided attention to the road and follow posted speed limits to keep our workers and the traveling public safe.”

Gatz updated commissioners on the omnibus federal appropriations bill passed in mid-March, which makes the remainder of Federal Fiscal Year 2022 transportation funding available for projects. He noted that this action by Congress enables ODOT to continue letting contracts for Eight-Year Construction Work Plan projects through the summer as planned and authorizes new funding categories, such as grant opportunities, included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

As part of the consent docket, the commission approved several programming items for future ODOT projects to install wrong-way countermeasures on rural stretches of I-35 in Northern Oklahoma and I-40 in the western part of the state, along with projects to replace old highway signs on segments of I-40 and I-235 in Oklahoma City. These projects are expected to go to bid later this year.

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Commissioners awarded contracts for several major highway improvements in Eastern Oklahoma, including a nearly $75-million project to reconstruct the US-62 bridges over the Arkansas River in Muskogee. The twin bridges span the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, also known as Marine Highway M-40, which supports waterborne freight traffic moving in and out of Oklahoma ports. Construction of the replacement structures will include pier protections around bridge support members in the river.

They also approved contracts for intersection upgrades along US-259 in the Hochatown and Broken Bow areas and two projects to improve highway pavement on US-69 between Durant and Caddo and between Atoka and Stringtown.

Commissioners voted to award 27 contracts totaling more than $130 million to improve highways, roads, and bridges in 26 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Atoka, Beaver, Beckham, Bryan, Carter, Choctaw, Coal, Creek, Garfield, Garvin, Grady, Haskell, Kiowa, Lincoln, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Osage, Payne, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Seminole, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Washita, and Woodward counties.

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