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ODOT approves $38 million of road projects in Tulsa County

ODOT approves $38 million of road projects in Tulsa County

by: GAVIN OFF Tulsa World Data Editor
Monday, October 05, 2009

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation approved more than $38 million of road projects for Tulsa County on Monday, including three projects that would build new bridges.

The most expensive project will replace the traffic signal at U.S. 75 and 111th Street in Jenks with a new $11.2 million bridge.

The bridge will carry traffic over U.S. 75 and allow ODOT to remove the intersection’s signal, which ODOT officials said causes both backups and accidents.

“You’re going highway speed, and all of a sudden, there’s a traffic light,” said Kenna Mitchell, spokeswoman for the department.

The project also includes building a new frontage road on the west side of U.S. 75 between 111th Street and 121st Street and replacing the U.S. 75 access road east of the highway.

Manhattan Road and Bridge Co. will likely begin construction in January or February, said Randle White, ODOT division engineer.

A second project that will likely start around the same time will replace the Interstate 44 bridge over Darlington Avenue with a six-lane span. The current four-lane bridge is listed as structurally deficient, meaning that it needs significant maintenance, repairs or replacement.

About 89,000 vehicles cross the bridge each day, White said.

The $10.9 million project, awarded to Sherwood Construction Co., will also widen I-44 from four to six lanes between Yale Avenue and just west of 41st Street.

The project is scheduled to take one year to complete.

“It’s a safety issue,” White said. “It will make it a better highway for everyone.” The final Tulsa County bridge replacement project approved Monday will replace the structurally deficient I-44 span over 163rd East Avenue with a new eight-lane span.

Chunks of concrete began falling from the current overpass in 2007, and ever since, netting under the bridge has caught additional falling debris.

White said the bridge, built in 1958, was originally scheduled to be replaced in 2013. “With the condition of the bridge, the department has concerns whether it would last to 2013,” White said.

The department awarded the $6.8 million contract to Manhattan Road and Bridge Co In other business, ODOT has also asked the federal government for $95 million to replace the Interstate 244 bridge over the Arkansas River. The current bridge is considered structurally deficient, meaning that it needs significant maintenance, repairs or replacement.

If awarded, ODOT would combine the money with $37 million it already has committed to the project to build a eight-lane bridge across the river.

In addition to highway traffic, the bridge would carry two rail lines. One line would carry high-speed rail traffic between Tulsa and Oklahoma City, and a second line would carry commuter traffic between downtown and Tulsa’s western edge. That line works in conjunction with the city’s Downtown Area Master Plan, an ODOT release said.

David Streb, ODOT’s director of engineering, said the department submitted it’s application in September and would know if it will recieve the grants by early next year. Streb said the fact that the bridge will carry highway, rail and pedestrian traffic make it a strong candidate for the TIGER grants - or Grants for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery.

“We feel these projects are very, very worthy because they’re intermodal,” Streb said.

Tulsa and INCOG worked with ODOT on the application, which is requesting a portion of the $1.5 billion the federal government has set aside for TIGER grants.

ODOT also requested $27 million in TIGER funds to improve the freight railroad through Claremore. In all, the project would cost $60 million and would help ease traffic along State Highway 11, State Highway 66, State Highway 88 and State Highway 20, an ODOT release said.

Copyright © 2009, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved

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