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OTC Approves Oklahoma’s First Diverging Diamond Interchange, $62M in Contracts Awarded

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, March 4 meeting include Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Executive Director Mike Patterson’s final report to the commission before retirement, introduction of a new Chief Engineer and presentation of an award for anti-litter efforts. The commission approved grant funding for pedestrian and bicycle transportation projects in small communities and awarded contracts for major projects on I-40 in Beckman County, US-75 in Tulsa County, SH-37 in McClain County and US-54 in Texas County.

In his report to the commission, Patterson announced the appointment of Brian Taylor as the agency’s new Chief Engineer. Taylor previously led ODOT’s Division Four, overseeing all highway construction and maintenance in north-central Oklahoma and much of the Oklahoma City metro area. Taylor has 28 years of experience with the agency, including many years in Division Two in southeastern Oklahoma.

Patterson expressed his appreciation to the commission and ODOT staff and received kudos and well-wishes from several Commissioners, former Transportation Secretaries and Directors Neal McCaleb and Gary Ridley and current Secretary of Transportation and incoming ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz, who also leads the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Patterson’s retirement will conclude a nearly 40-year career, including six years as Executive Director.

“It’s been an amazing career and the last six years have been fantastic,” Patterson said. “I will be forever grateful to the commission for entrusting me with this role and to the men and women of ODOT who make magic happen every day.”

The department was presented with an award by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful on behalf of the national group Keep America Beautiful. Through ODOT’s partnership with KOB, Oklahoma is the only state in the nation to have 100 percent county participation in the annual Great American Cleanup in the past nine consecutive years. During the 2018 event, nearly 2.7 million pounds of litter were collected by 42,000 volunteers statewide. KOB Executive Director Jeanette Nance presented Patterson and Commission Chairman David Burrage with the State Agency Partnership award, which ODOT has earned several times in recent years.

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The commission approved $7.5 million in federal funding for 21 Transportation Alternatives Program projects in small communities with less than 5,000 in population. These are competitive grants that help cities and towns provide a connected infrastructure system for bicyclists and pedestrians. Approved projects include construction of a bike lane and sidewalks in Thomas and an ADA compliant sidewalk connecting schools in Chouteau, among others. The projects were selected by ODOT with input from the state’s councils of governments and regional transportation planning organizations and funded by a combination of federal and local matching funds. A list of approved TAP projects can be found at odot.org/tap.

Commissioners awarded a contract for construction of the state’s first Diverging Diamond Interchange at I-40 and SH-6 in Elk City. This interchange design has been used in several states with positive results, including safer, less congested intersections and a reduction in wrong-way collisions. The $28.6-million contract also includes I-40 Business reconstruction in Sayre.

Commissioners also awarded a more than $1-million contract for rehabilitation of the US-75 bridge over Lewis Ave. and the Pine St. bridge over US-75 in Tulsa, a $1-million contract for four miles of SH-37 resurfacing in Newcastle and a nearly $12-million contract to reconstruct and widen seven miles of US-54 near Tyrone in Texas County.

Altogether, commissioners voted to award 17 contracts totaling $62 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 16 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Atoka, Beckham, Coal, Garvin, Jackson, Love, Marshall, McClain, McCurtain, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Seminole, Stephens, Texas, Tulsa and Washington counties.

A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting odot.org/contracts, selecting the February 2019 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.

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