Gov. Mary Fallin presented a proclamation at the April 10 meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission declaring April 3-May 3 Work Zone Awareness Month and met with Oklahoma Department of Transportation workers. (L-R) are Dural Jackson, Division Four; Richard O’Neal, Division Four; Craig Williams, Division Four; Shane Jardot, Division Four; Tim Vester, Division Four; Gov. Fallin, Rick Howland, Edmond Residency; Carolyn Flores, Pottawatomie County; Mike Patterson, ODOT executive director.
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission's April 10 meeting included a visit from Gov. Mary Fallin to kick off the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's work zone safety campaign and discuss transportation issues. The commission voted on approval of a new turnpike location requested by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to complete the Gilcrease Expressway in Tulsa. Contracts were awarded for safety improvements in Canadian County, bridge and surface projects in Tulsa County and bridge replacements in Jefferson and Major counties.
Gov. Fallin joined commissioners and ODOT employees in wearing orange and presented a proclamation declaring April 3-May 3 Work Zone Awareness Month. This year's campaign, themed “Your Life Matters: Drive Like It,” seeks to remind Oklahomans about the dangers that highway workers and drivers face in work zones. There have been 85 fatalities in Oklahoma highway work zones in the last five years; four were ODOT workers and several were contractors, but the overall majority of the fatalities were drivers and passengers. Partners include ODOT, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and Midstate Traffic Control.
The department reported to the governor that highway bridge conditions continue to improve. Increased state funding has allowed ODOT to reduce the number of structurally deficient highway bridges from 1,168 bridges in 2004 down to 251 in 2016. The governor also spoke with commissioners about ongoing work with the legislature to reform the state's budget structure, including her proposal to dedicate all motor fuel tax revenue to transportation.
Commissioners voted to approve the OTA's new requested turnpike route to complete the Gilcrease Expressway in west Tulsa. In accordance with state law, the commission must review and consent to OTA's proposed turnpike routes to ensure that new routes fit within the overall highway system and don't conflict with planned ODOT projects. Patterson noted that ODOT had construction plans for the Gilcrease Expressway in the early 1960s, but never had the financial resources to build the new highway. More information about the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's planned expansions can be found at www.pikepass.com.
The commission voted to award contracts for safety improvements to the intersection of SH-4 (Piedmont Rd.) and Britton Rd. in northwest Oklahoma City as well as contracts to rehabilitate several bridges and ramps at the northeast corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop and resurface portions of U.S.-169 in Tulsa.
They also approved an $11 million contract to replace the SH-79 bridge over the Red River southwest of Waurika in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation and a more than $5.4 million contract for replacement of the U.S.-281/U.S.-60 bridge over the North Canadian River north of Seiling.
In all, commissioners awarded 27 contracts totaling nearly $64 million to improve bridges, highways, interstates and roads in 18 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Canadian, Carter, Cimarron, Comanche, Garvin, Haskell, Jefferson, McIntosh, Major, Muskogee, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Tulsa, Washita, Woods and Woodward counties. A list of all awarded contracts may be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the March 2017 letting and clicking Go and then Award.
The eight-member panel, appointed by the governor to oversee the state's transportation development, awards project contracts for road and bridge construction every month. The next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. May 1.
For more information, visit www.odot.org.