Column: Infrastructure updates in District 51
The Duncan Banner By State Rep. Brad Boles
September 27, 2020
Every interim, I enjoy traveling House District 51 and speaking with constituents about issues they’re concerned about. Time and time again, I hear concerns about the quality of our roads and bridges.
In the early 2000’s, Oklahoma ranked among the states with the most structurally deficient bridges. At the time, 17% of our state’s 6,800 bridges were in bad shape. After realizing the need to improve our infrastructure, the Legislature increased funds to ODOT by adapting a more reliable funding formula.
As a result of this investment, ODOT has dramatically reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges from 1,168 in 2004 down to only 68 by the end of 2019. This means less than 1% of our bridges are now considered structurally deficient, a huge improvement from our 17% two decades ago! This moved Oklahoma from 49th place in the nation for highway bridge conditions to 9th place earlier this year.
The state will continue its investment in our infrastructure to keep up with aging systems that doesn’t meet the needs of modern traffic. While ODOT has a program to continue addressing our remaining structurally deficient bridges, more resources are being allocated to repair other travel needs, including two-lane highways with deficient shoulders, sharp curves and steep hills.
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