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Stimulus to fix state roads, bridges

Stimulus to fix state roads, bridges

This article first appeared in the Muskogee Phoenix

By Donna Hales
Phoenix Staff Writer

March 15, 2009 10:12 pm

Oklahoma will receive about $465 million through the federal stimulus package for state highway and county roads and bridge construction.

Projects scheduled to be paid for with stimulus funds already had been deemed necessary and had been previously scheduled in the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s eight-year Construction Work Plan or Pavement Preservation Program, ODOT officials said.
If assigned to be paid for with stimulus funds, projects must be ready for construction quickly, which eliminates those that include purchase of right-of-way or relocation of utilities, officials said.

Mark Majors, construction engineer for ODOT’s Division 1, headquartered in Muskogee, said at least six of 23 area projects the stimulus money is expected to pay for will be let for bid March 19.

At least $340 million of the stimulus money will be used on state projects, with about $125 million for county projects, said ODOT Spokesman David Meuser.

Bids to be opened then would normally be awarded in April, but will be awarded in late March, ODOT said.

“The biggest one (in Division One) is a project on I-40 near Webbers Falls — repairing all four lanes,” Mayors said.
The project is from mile post 281.67 to 288.22, Meuser said.

Stimulus money will pay $34 million of the just under $36 million cost of the Interstate 40 project, Meuser said.

Another Muskogee County project on tap is pavement rehabilitation on Oklahoma 2, approximately 14.3 miles north of Haskell County line and extending north approximately 1.75 miles — north of Porum and near Warner. The cost is $677,508.
ODOT wants the projects started as soon as possible.

“We want to force some contractors to hire some people,” Majors said.

ODOT Director Gary Ridley said earlier that the stimulus package for the state would impact 16,000 Oklahoma jobs.
ODOT will be receiving about twice this year what it would normally receive because of the stimulus money, Majors said.

Stimulus funding also will ensure the following projects let for bid March 19:
• Haskell County — Rehabilitation on Oklahoma 9, 11 miles east of Oklahoma 2, extending another 1.1 mile. The project will cost $294,000 and $278,000 will come from stimulus funds, Meuser said.
• Wagoner County — Pavement rehabilitation on U.S. 69, beginning 0.5 miles north of Oklahoma 51 and extending north 7.84 miles to the Mayes County Line.
Cost of the project is $2,148,112, with stimulus funding paying $2,026,120.
• Wagoner County — Pavement rehabilitation on U.S. 69 beginning 0.25 miles south of Oklahoma 51 and extending north 0.75 miles.
Cost of the project is $445,224, and stimulus funding will pay $418,050 of that.
The total amount of the projects is not paid for with stimulus funding because engineering fees cannot be paid with stimulus money — only construction costs, Meuser said.
ODOT has three scheduled bid openings in March totaling $40 million. About $340 million is being funded through the stimulus package, Meuser said.
Stimulus money also will go for the major part of construction of the following bridges in the area, including:
• Over Cloud Creek northeast of Boynton in Muskogee County.
• Over Telamy Hollow Creek north of Moody in Cherokee County.
• Over Flat Rock Creek north of Raiford in McIntosh County.
• A bridge 1.0 mile north and .25 mile west of U.S. 69 and Okla. 51 in Wagoner County.
• Over Prairie Creek in Sequoyah County, near Akins.

Reach Donna Hales at 684-2923 or dhales

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