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Tulsa bridge work on way

Tulsa bridge work on way

Tulsa World by: GAVIN OFF World Data Editor
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
3/3/2009 3:12:56 AM

OKLAHOMA CITY — Work on 44 bridges along the west and north legs of the Inner Dispersal Loop could begin as soon as mid-April, said a division engineer for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

The project — which will include repairing the bridges' decks, repaving portions of the Inner Dispersal Loop and strengthening some of the bridges' substructures — will cost an estimated $66 million and involve about 2.9 miles of road, said the engineer, Randle White.

Crews will also replace the bridges' metal guardrails with concrete walls, which are stronger and need fewer repairs, he said.

"The area down there is really a tight area," he said. "If a guardrail gets hit and has to be repaired, you're talking about people working in an area with traffic going by."

The portion of the Inner Dispersal Loop scheduled for repairs is between the Arkansas River and U.S. 75.

The work will last about a year and a half. The project joins a list of 43 state Transportation Department projects likely to begin with money from the federal stimulus package, now known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

ODOT Director Gary Ridley said he expects the Transportation Department to approve about $330 million worth of projects this month. Half of the funds must be designated to projects within 120 days, he said.

"We'll certainly meet that or beat it," he said.

The department began planning for the possibility of a stimulus package months ago, when it hired engineering consultants to help identify possible construction projects.

White said the Inner Dispersal Loop is a key project because of its age and the condition of its roads and bridges.

The pavement was laid in the 1970s, and most of the bridges were built 40 to 45 years ago, he said.

"Those roads are in a condition where every time we have snow or ice or rain, we can count on those potholes coming back," White said.

A second Tulsa County project set to move forward with the help of federal stimulus money includes repairing two bridges on Oklahoma 151. One bridge crosses over Oklahoma 51 and a second crosses over nearby train tracks.

The Oklahoma 151 project, which includes road work, will affect about a half-mile of highway and cost about $6.7 million.

Two Rogers County projects will cost a combined $3.48 million, department officials estimate.

One project will replace the asphalt on U.S. 412 beginning at the McClellan-Kerr Navigation Channel and extending east about five miles. A second project will replace asphalt on Oklahoma 266 beginning at Oklahoma 167 and extending east about 5.5 miles.

White said potholes dot both roads. He added that the construction will slow traffic.

"There is going to be some inconvenience for people," he said. "There is going to be some congestion. But it will be really good afterward."

Transportation commissioners have set a special meeting March 30 to further discuss the stimulus projects.

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