ACCESS Oklahoma, which stands for Advancing and Connecting Communities and Economies Safely Statewide, is a comprehensive, long-range planning process that looks at ongoing highway infrastructure needs for the next 15 years. It is designed to improve access to communities and help meet the state’s future infrastructure needs. This is the first plan of its type by OTA, and it will complement the agency’s five-year Capital Improvement Program.
Stitt, an ex-officio member of the board, and Gatz highlighted for the board the benefits ACCESS Oklahoma will bring to the state and previewed the proposed new turnpike alignments.
“The future of our economy will depend on having a modern highway system that manages congestion and reliable travel times,” Stitt said. “ACCESS Oklahoma is a bold investment in our future that provides needed corridor connections and expansions while making travel easier and leading to more economic development across the state.”
Features of ACCESS Oklahoma include:
- Widening the Turner Turnpike to six lanes between Oklahoma City and Bristow, which will create a six-lane highway for the entirety of the turnpike between the state’s two largest metros
- The construction of reliever routes around Oklahoma’s two largest metropolitan areas
- Off- and on-ramps constructed on the existing turnpike system, improving traffic safety for additional rural Oklahoma communities
“ACCESS Oklahoma is a strategic corridor plan that focuses on travel time reliability, easing congestion in our metro areas, moving freight across the state, and adding access to communities that previously were not connected to turnpikes,” Gatz said. “Addressing these needs will directly impact citizens’ quality of life while enhancing the state’s infrastructure for future growth. But most importantly, each of these projects will improve highway safety for motorists.”
The board hired Poe & Associates, an Oklahoma City-based engineering consultant, during the January 2022 board meeting to provide program management services for ACCESS Oklahoma’s long-range plan projects.