Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Feb. 12 meeting include an update on the beginning of the new legislative session and proposals for generating new revenue; a recap of the successful installation of the new railroad truss bridge over I-235 in Oklahoma City in January and presentation of a national award to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation for its partnership in statewide beautification and anti-litter efforts. Commissioners awarded more than 20 contracts for projects addressing highway pavement, including a project to rehabilitate nearly five miles of US-69 in McIntosh County.
Executive Director Mike Patterson updated commissioners on the beginning of the new legislative session and efforts to increase state revenue, potentially including motor fuel tax revenue. Proposals have been filed to more directly tie transportation funding to revenues generated by transportation, with no net increase to ODOT’s budget. Commissioners were told that Oklahoma currently has the 49th lowest motor fuel tax rate in the nation, behind Alaska.
Patterson noted that during ODOT’s recent budget and performance review before the state legislature, the agency was able to show the considerable progress that’s been made improving bridge conditions in recent years. The agency remains on track to address the remaining structurally deficient highway bridges by the end of the decade, despite funding cuts due to continued state budget shortfalls. He added that stable state funding is needed to continue the work on bridges, improve highway pavement conditions and address urban highway congestion.
“As the legislature tries to bring in new revenue to help balance the state’s budget, we hope we can see the end to the diversion of transportation funding to other areas of state government,” Patterson said. “Nearly $840 million has been diverted from ODOT since 2010 and as a result, we’ve seen projects delayed and even removed from the Eight-year Construction Work Plan.”
Patterson also publically thanked ODOT workers and crews with Allen Contracting and American Bridge for their efforts to install the new railroad truss bridge over I-235 near N. 50th St. in Oklahoma City in late January. The new railroad bridge was built in two pieces alongside the highway and then carefully moved into place over I-235 during a weekend closure of the roadway. This innovative process saved drivers the inconvenience of several months of interstate closures that would have been necessary to build the bridge in place using traditional construction techniques.
Keep Oklahoma Beautiful Executive Director Jeanette Nance presented the commission and agency with the State Agency Partnership Award from the national organization Keep American Beautiful. The award recognizes state agencies that partner with their KAB affiliate to combat litter. This marks the second consecutive year that ODOT has earned the State Agency Partnership Award. The partnership between ODOT and the non-profit organization includes coordination during the Great American Cleanup, which last year featured volunteer participation in all 77 Oklahoma counties and saved taxpayers more than $8 million in litter removal costs. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture-Forestry Services and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority also received national recognition for their work with KOB.
Commissioners awarded more than 20 contracts for pavement rehabilitation or resurfacing, including a $24.5 million contract for a project to rehabilitate nearly five miles of US-69 from the Pittsburg County line north to Eufaula in McIntosh County. This major travel and trucking corridor carries more than 16,000 vehicles per day at this location, on average.
Commissioners voted to award 46 contracts totaling nearly $102 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 34 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Beaver, Bryan, Cherokee, Choctaw, Cimarron, Cleveland, Comanche, Creek, Ellis, Grady, Greer, Kingfisher, Latimer, Lincoln, Mayes, McCurtain, McIntosh, Muskogee, Murray, Okfuskee, Okmulgee, Osage, Ottawa, Pawnee, Pottawatomie, Pontotoc, Pushmataha, Rogers, Roger Mills, Seminole, Tulsa, Texas, Washington and Woodward counties. A list of all awarded contracts may be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting both January 2018 AM and PM lettings and clicking Go and then Award.
The eight-member panel, appointed by the governor to oversee the state’s transportation development, awards project contracts for road and bridge construction every month. The commission’s next regular meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, March 5.
Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details can be viewed at www.odot.org
At the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Feb. 12, meeting, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful presented the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with the State Agency Partnership Award recognizing the agency’s work to combat litter statewide. The partnership between ODOT and KOB includes coordination of the annual Great American Cleanup, during which volunteers help save millions in Oklahoma taxpayer costs by picking up roadside litter.