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October Commission Meeting Wrap-Up: Oklahoma highway & railroad projects benefit from federal grants

$138 million in contracts awarded

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Press Release October 7, 2020

Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Oct. 5 meeting include a briefing on federal funding extension and recent grants awarded for Oklahoma highway and railroad projects, along with an update on I-40 expansion and connection with a new turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County. Contracts were awarded for major projects on US-69 in Pittsburg and McIntosh counties, I-40 in Sequoyah County, US-62 in Grady County, I-244 in Tulsa County and I-44 in Oklahoma County.  

Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Tim Gatz briefed commissioners on the continuing resolution recently approved by Congress and the president to fund the federal government through mid-December. The act extended transportation funding and policy provisions in the Fix America’s Surface Transportation Act that was set to expire in September, and will allow ODOT to continue to solicit bids on contracts with federal funds. The certainty in federal funding will also allow the agency to proceed with annual updating of its Eight-year Construction Work Plan.

Commissioners heard that Oklahoma was the recipient of two grants for major highway and railroad projects from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The first, a $22 million Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development (BUILD) grant will help fund upgrades and preservation of the historic US-281/Route 66 Bridgeport Bridge in Caddo and Canadian counties.

“This BUILD grant for the Bridgeport Bridge will allow us to restore that landmark bridge to its full carrying capacity while preserving the historic character of the structure,” Gatz said. “We will do everything we can to have this bridge upgrade completed before the Route 66 Centennial celebration in 2026.”

The second grant, a $10 million Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement (CRISI) grant was awarded to the Kiamichi Tri-State Freight Rail Project, which was supported by ODOT and the Choctaw Nation. The grant will fund major upgrades to restore 36 miles of railroad between Antlers and Hugo. 

Gatz highlighted progress on the agency’s widening of I-40 to six lanes east of I-240 in Oklahoma City and the partnership with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to construct an interchange with the new Kickapoo Turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County. He announced that the new turnpike is set to partially open on Oct. 13, which will allow travel between I-44/Turner Turnpike and US-62/N.E. 23rd St. The southern segment of the Kickapoo Turnpike will connect to I-40 once complete.

The commission voted to awarded contracts for two major projects on US-69 in southeastern Oklahoma, both of which tie in to previously completed corridor upgrades. These include $32 million for the next phase of US-69 reconstruction between US-270 and S. 14th St. in McAlester and a $30 million project to reconstruct four miles of US-69 pavement north of SH-9 in Eufaula. Commissioners also approved contracts for bridge reconstruction on I-40 at Big Sallisaw Creek near Sallisaw and US-62 at the Washita River in Chickasha, construction of the Pathway to Hope Trail near I-244 in Tulsa and bridge maintenance at Lincoln Blvd. and I-44 in Oklahoma City.

Commissioners voted to award 27 contracts totaling $138 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 29 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Beaver, Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Cimarron, Coal, Cotton, Dewey, Grady, Hughes, Jackson, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Love, Major, McClain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Oklahoma, Osage, Pittsburg, Pontotoc, Pottawatomie, Roger Mills, Seminole, Sequoyah, Tulsa, Wagoner and Woods counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the September 2020 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.

The commission met to conduct business in a video teleconference with members attending remotely as a public health precaution due to COVID-19. A recording of this meeting can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/odot.

The nine-member Oklahoma Transportation Commission, appointed by the governor and legislative leadership to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards contracts for road and bridge construction monthly.

Next month’s Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Nov. 2 and will be available for the public to view live on the web. Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org.

View the press release: OK.gov

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