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ODOT to keep traffic on the ‘GO’ in I-235 work zone with new program (PRESS RELEASE)

ODOT to keep traffic on the ‘GO’ in I-235 work zone with new program (PRESS RELEASE)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: Aug. 6, 2018
Press Release #18-030

One stranded car inside a highway work zone can cause significant delays for thousands of drivers. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation aims to change that situation with two specially outfitted trucks and a new service to motorists traveling through construction projects and other targeted high-traffic areas.

GO-DOT, a new pilot program to help keep highways clear, debuted today at the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s monthly meeting before heading to the I-235 construction zone between I-44 and N. 36th St. in Oklahoma City. This program is designed to quickly move stranded vehicles out of the busy work zone to the nearest safe location and was made possible by the Federal Highway Administration as part of the nearly $88 million federally funded I-235 construction contract.

“One of the most dangerous situations on an interstate is when a crash or other problem causes traffic to suddenly slow or stop,” ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson said. “Our agency’s No. 1 priority is the safety of the traveling public and we’re excited to bring this concept to Oklahoma highways. While initially launching in the Oklahoma City metro area, the goal is to build this program to help keep other targeted heavily traveled highways clear.”

They initially will be operated by Allen Contracting Inc., the prime contractor for the I-235 construction project. The contractor will provide operators for the service until the current I-235 project completes by early 2019 when ODOT will take possession of the two vehicles and hire its own operators.

The two 2017 Ford F-450 4x4 crew cab trucks cost more than $400,000 to purchase and outfit. The vehicles are fully outfitted with a wheel lift capable of lifting 3,500 pounds and towing up to 7,800-pound vehicles such as RVs and travel trailers as well as a wheel dolly to allow the removal of four-wheel-drive vehicles without damaging drivetrain components. The vehicle cabs can seat up to four additional passengers to help quickly move motorists to a safer location. GO-DOT also will be equipped to provide basic car maintenance such as jumping a dead battery, fixing a flat tire or providing a few gallons of fuel for those who ran out of gasoline inside the work zone. Once safely moved out of the construction area, motorists will need to call for additional help or a towing service.

The GO-DOT vehicles initially will be stationed on northbound and southbound I-235 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The next phase of the I-44/I-235/US-77 interchange reconstruction is estimated to be awarded later this year with construction likely to start soon after the current phase completes by early 2019. GO-DOT will continue to be used in this work zone area as the I-44/I-235/US-77 interchange is reconstructed.

“The biggest problem with stranded vehicles or crashes is the secondary accidents that often occur as motorists are distracted by what’s happening in the lane next to them or on the highway shoulder,” said ODOT Chief Engineer Casey Shell. “These secondary accidents often are even more dangerous than the initial cause of the slow down. By keeping the lanes and shoulders clear and limiting distractions, we hope this service will reduce crashes and congestion in the work zone.”

Motorists are reminded that during an emergency or crash in a work zone, they still should call *55 or 911 and law enforcement will notify GO-DOT. The focus of this service is to clear the highways and it only will be available to move stranded vehicles to the nearest safe location. If the service moves an unattended vehicle out of the work zone, the operator will notify the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

“Law enforcement helps stranded motorists on a daily basis, often in concert with ODOT highway workers,” Department of Public Safety Commissioner Rusty Rhoades said. “The Department of Public Safety applauds this new program that benefits the traveling public and those responding to emergencies.”

Future plans include offering this same service in Tulsa and other targeted areas to enhance highway safety.

GO-DOT Fast Facts:

GO-DOT trucks will be stationed on northbound and southbound I-235 from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Friday until this phase of construction completes in early 2019, and through future phases.

Two 2017 Ford F-450 4x4 crew cab trucks make up the pilot program.

Purchased at a cost of just more than $400,000 with federal funds through the nearly $88 million I-235 contract in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration and Allen Contracting Inc.

They are fully outfitted with a wheel lift capable of lifting 3,500 pounds and towing up to 7,800-pound vehicles such as RVs and travel trailers.

Also equipped with a wheel dolly to allow the removal of four-wheel-drive vehicles without damaging drivetrain components.

The vehicle cabs can seat up to four passengers to help quickly move motorists to a safer location where they can call their preferred towing service or mechanic.

To Learn More:Check out this video about the new GO-DOT pilot program: https://vimeo.com/283101476

VIEW PRESS RELEASE

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