Six new members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission took part in their first meeting on May 6.
Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission's May 6 meeting include introduction of several new commission members, a briefing on an emergency Oklahoma Department of Transportation project to repair an I-40 bridge in El Reno and updates on recently-signed speed limit legislation and status of several projects that have been rescheduled after being delayed by the lapse in federal funding earlier this year.
Among the contracts awarded were work on SH-37 in Grady County, SH-29 in Stephens County, SH-78 in Bryan County and SH-3/N.W. Expressway in Oklahoma City. A project also was programmed to install new pavement striping on several highways in the Oklahoma City metro area.
Six new transportation commissioners took part in their first meeting following recent appointments by the Governor, Speaker of the House and Senate President Pro Tempore. New members are At-Large Commissioner Gene McKown of Norman; District 1 Commissioner Bob Coburn of Muskogee; District 2 Commissioner James Grimsley of Calera; District 4; Commissioner Don Freymiller of Edmond; District 5 Commissioner David Dyson of Elk City; and District 7 Commissioner Steve LaForge of Chickasha. They joined previously-appointed District 3 Commissioner T.W. Shannon of Oklahoma City, as well as District 6 Commissioner Bobby Alexander of Woodward and District 8 Commissioner Bob Peterson of Tulsa, who were both reappointed. During election of officers, McKown was named chairman, Peterson became vice-chairman and Shannon was elected secretary.
(L-R) are WTS International, Oklahoma Chapter Vice President Sharri Hiller, Terri Angier and Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz.
In a special presentation, Women's Transportation Seminar International, Oklahoma Chapter Vice President Sharri Hiller presented ODOT Chief of Media and Public Relations Terri Angier with its "Woman of the Year" award for serving as an outstanding role model for supporting programs which provide leadership training, professional development and networking opportunities for women in transportation. Angier is the second recipient of the award from the organization, which supports advancement of women in the transportation industry. Angier has worked for ODOT for nearly 30 years and oversees all aspects of public relations administration and information management for the agency.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz briefed the commission on a nearly $300,000 emergency repair to the I-40 bridges over US-81 in El Reno. A routine inspection in April discovered excessive pavement pressure forces had closed some expansion joints and damaged several bridge beams. The bridges are safe and remain open to traffic as repairs are ongoing.
Gatz updated the commission on recently-signed legislation regarding speed limit increases, telling commissioners that the agency will be taking a close look at segments of rural interstate that could possibly support increased speeds of 75 mph; however, this will be an ongoing effort and not have an immediate impact. He also reported on several major projects that were expedited to be rescheduled after the lapse in federal funding earlier this year and on design updates to an upcoming $140 million U.S.-69 reconstruction project in Bryan County following meetings with the Choctaw Nation and the Town of Calera.
Gatz also announced that ODOT's Deputy Director and Chief Financial Officer Russell Hulin will be retiring in June, concluding a 35-year career with the state. Director of Capital Programs Dawn Sullivan will succeed him as Deputy Director, becoming the first woman in the role.
Commissioners voted to award:
- an $11.8 million contract to reconstruct four miles of SH-37 between Minco and Tuttle;
- a more than $12 million contract to reconstruct nearly five miles of SH-29 east of Marlow; and
- a $15.5 million contract to replace the SH-78 bridge over the Red River in Bryan County in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation.
They also approved a $6 million contract to resurface nearly seven miles of SH-3/N.W. Expressway and update the traffic signals at several intersections between SH-74/Lake Hefner Parkway and the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City.
As part of the consent docket, commissioners approved a programming item for installation of new grooved pavement striping on sections of I-44, I-40, I-235 and SH-74/Lake Hefner Parkway in Oklahoma City to improve visibility during nighttime and rainy weather conditions. They also approved certification of county road mileages, which is required annually by state law. A total of 67 mi. were added to the county system statewide, largely due to changes in city boundaries. This data is used by the Oklahoma Tax Commission for apportionment of state motor fuel tax revenue to each county for roads and bridges.
Altogether, commissioners voted to award 28 contracts totaling nearly $95 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 21 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Caddo, Blaine, Bryan, Choctaw, Cleveland, Coal, Craig, Garvin, Grady, Grant, Kiowa, LeFlore, McIntosh, Nowata, Oklahoma, Pottawatomie, Rogers, Stephens, Texas, Tulsa and Washita counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting odot.org/contracts, selecting the April 2019 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.
The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leadership to oversee the state's transportation development, awards contracts every month for road and bridge construction. The commission's next meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. June 3.
Contracts, bid information, the commission's monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at odot.org.