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Oklahoma Transportation Commission Discusses ODOT Preliminary Budget, I-35 Expansion, Safety Excellence Awards

The Governor’s Safety Excellence Award for the best overall record was again given to District Three, which is based in Ada and includes Cleveland, Coal, Garvin, Hughes, Johnston, Lincoln, McClain, Okfuskee, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, and Seminole counties.
The Governor’s Safety Excellence Award for the best overall record was again given to District Three, which is based in Ada and includes Cleveland, Coal, Garvin, Hughes, Johnston, Lincoln, McClain, Okfuskee, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, and Seminole counties.
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Executive Director Evelyn Schaefer presented the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with the national Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partnership Award.
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Executive Director Evelyn Schaefer presented the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with the national Keep America Beautiful State Agency Partnership Award.
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s recent meeting include an update on approval of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) 2025 preliminary budget, approval of a project to continue the I-35 expansion to six lanes near Thackerville, recognition for a national beautification partnership, and the department’s annual Safety Excellence Awards.

Commissioners voted to approve the department’s fiscal year 2025 preliminary $2.5 billion Budget Work Program. A few highlights of the SFY 2025 budget include:

  • The ROADS Fund remained unchanged and was authorized at $590 million to continue infrastructure investments in Oklahoma’s future
  • A $4.8 million increase (2.2 percent) from last year’s appropriations to the State Transportation Fund base derived from motor fuel taxes
  • $30 million from the state’s General Revenue Fund
  • A 3.6 percent increase to the County Improvement for Roads and Bridges program to $101 million available for county projects

“I want to recognize that the legislative leadership worked through an arduous process that produced a budget which recognizes the continuing needs of the transportation system," Gatz said. "We are very appreciative of the opportunity to deliver projects in accordance with that budgetary approval."

Also included in the General Appropriations bill, was an allocation of $200 million authorized in the Rural Economic Transportation Reliability and Optimization Fund (RETRO Fund). Per RETRO Fund provisions, these resources will help accelerate construction, repair, and maintenance of Eight-Year Construction Work Plan projects in qualifying rural areas that have experienced robust economic development, causing an impactful increase to traffic volumes and safety concerns.

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Commissioners approved a project to continue the I-35 expansion to six lanes with an interchange reconstruction at SH-153 near Thackerville in Love County. This $40 million project picks up at mile marker 3, where six lanes were just completed, and extends north 2 miles to SH-153. This project is one of many programmed along the I-35 corridor between Oklahoma City and the Texas state line.

Interstate 35 is currently being widening at SH-9W south of Norman, and preliminary engineering is being done for a project near Johnson Road in McClain County.

The department was recently awarded the State Agency Partnership Award at the annual Keep America Beautiful (KAB) national awards ceremony in San Diego. One of four state agencies to receive the honor, it is presented to agencies that successfully partner with their local KAB affiliate to combat litter during the Great American Cleanup. The department has been partners with local affiliate Keep Oklahoma Beautiful (KOB) since 1965. According to KOB Executive Director Evelyn Schaefer, during the 2023 litter clean-up effort, all 77 counties and 13,000 volunteers participated, 5,000 acres of land were cleared, and 23 million pounds of trash collected.

The commission meeting also included presentation of ODOT’s safety awards, recognizing its nine districts and work units with the best safety ratings in 2023. The Governor’s Safety Excellence Award for the best overall record was again given to District Three, which is based in Ada. This award is presented to the district that has the overall best safety record for the year, demonstrating superior performance in leading the district’s safety program. The Progressive Excellence Award for the most improved safety record was again given to District Two, which is headquartered in Antlers. Additionally, the Director’s Safety Excellence awards were given to the individual work units in each of ODOT’s field districts and the central office with the best safety performance.

Commissioners voted to award 16 contracts totaling $82 million to improve highways, roads, and bridges statewide. The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leadership to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards contracts monthly for road and bridge construction.

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Yanmar
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Hamm
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