OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) announced plans for over $9 billion in upgrades to the state’s highways in their Eight-Year Construction Work Plan and Four-Year Asset Preservation Program.
The two plans will address the 15 remaining structurally deficient highway bridges in the state that were not already under contract, and another 395 bridges at risk of becoming deficient in their structure are also included, according to a news release.
The Construction Work Plan will also improve 1,100 miles of two-lane highways with shoulders.
“Through the dedicated focus of the eight-year plan, the department has been able to address critical highway infrastructure needs, especially on our bridges,” said Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz. “We’re adjusting that focus in recent years to improve more rural two-lane highways that need shoulders. This will have a tremendous impact on safety in rural areas. Maintaining safe and effective routes on Oklahoma’s highway system is a critical part of the state’s economy that keeps us connected to the nation and the world.”
The state’s transportation system investments have significantly impacted the quality and level of service of the state’s highway infrastructure since the first approved eight-year plan in 2003. That year, Oklahoma had 1,168 structurally deficient bridges on its highway system, making them the worst nationally for bridge conditions.
With the Construction Work Plan, Oklahoma ranked number five in 2022.
The FFY 2024-2031 Eight-Year Construction Work Plan includes:
- $8.8 billion in total investments.
- 1,738 total projects.
- Addresses 643 bridges through rehabilitation or replacement.
- Nearly 3,800 miles of roadway improvements, including more than 1,100 miles of safety improvements on two-lane highways with deficient or no shoulders.
The FY 2024-27 Asset Preservation Plan includes:
- $497 million in total investments.
- 290 total projects.
- Rehabilitation of 146 highway bridges.
- More than 1,800 miles of pavement resurfacing .
Notable projects added or advanced in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan include:
- In the Oklahoma City metro area, improvements to the I-35/I-240 and I-35/I-44 interchanges and resurface I-35 between the Oklahoma River and S.E. 89th.
- In the Tulsa metro area, improvements to the I-44 and US-75 interchange.
- In Southeastern Oklahoma, adding shoulders along SH-37 west of Idabel and improvements on US-259 in Hochatown in McCurtain County move forward to 2024.
- In Eastern Oklahoma, the resurfacing of US-69 between Checotah and Eufaula in McIntosh County.
- In Southeast Central Oklahoma, bridge rehabilitations over I-44 at SH-37 East and S.W. 119th in Cleveland County and at SH-145 over I-35 in Garvin County.
- In South Central Oklahoma, planning for improvements along I-35 between Marietta in Love County and Springer in Carter County, as well as an I–35 bridge reconstruction at Thackerville in Love County.
- In Western Oklahoma, widening US-270 near SH-58 west of Watonga in Blaine County and pavement reconstruction on I-40 west of US-281 in Caddo County.
- In Northwest Oklahoma, adding shoulders to SH-45 in Alfalfa County and resurfacing part of US-281 in Alva in Woods County.
Due to inflation and the rising costs of materials for some projects in the latest plan updates, federal grants offset increased estimates. These included an $85 million Mega grant for the I-44 and US-75 interchange in Tulsa and a $45 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan for 29 miles of improvements to rural two-lane highways with deficient shoulders.
The eight-year plan has 1,738 individual projects, and the Asset Preservation Plan has another 290 projects.
The Oklahoma State Legislature committed $200 million in a one-time allocation to the Rural Economic Transportation Reliability and Optimization Fund. Per Retro Fund provisions, the acceleration of construction, repair and maintenance of the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan projects in qualifying rural areas that have experienced robust economic development caused an impactful increase in traffic volumes and safety concerns.
“The legislature must be commended for supporting the needs of Oklahoma’s transportation network with the $200 million allocation of RETRO Funds,” Gatz said. “The RETRO funding that has been provided this year has been an absolute difference-maker and where at one time we had envisioned it would help us advance some projects, and we did advance some, but it kept some very critical projects on the path to construction in an inflationary environment that was challenging for us to manage.”
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