Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, Nov. 7 meeting include a report on the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s bridge inspections following a Payne County earthquake, approval of the updated plan of major county projects and an update on ODOT’s rail crossing improvement initiative. Contracts were awarded for a project on the I-44 Belle Isle Bridge, bridge rehabilitation on I-44 and I-40 in Oklahoma County, traffic signal improvements in Cleveland County and US-270 in Dewey County.

Executive Director Mike Patterson reported on ODOT’s response to Sunday night’s 5.0 magnitude earthquake near Cushing. Crews conducted visual inspections of 110 highway bridges within a 30-mile radius of the earthquake’s epicenter and also assisted with inspection of City of Cushing bridges. While minor damage to city utilities impacted SH-18 traffic in Cushing, no damage to any bridges was found.  

The commission approved the State Fiscal Year 2017-2021 County Improvements for Roads and Bridges work plan, which contains more than $933 million in dedicated federal, state, local and tribal funds for major county road and bridge construction projects administered by ODOT. The plan addresses 439 county bridges and nearly 800 miles of county roads with major reconstruction or rehabilitation. Of the bridges, 325 are either rated structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A list of projects in the five-year CIRB plan can be found online at www.odot.org under What’s New, ODOT Publications.  

“Since it began 10 years ago, the CIRB program has been a great partnership between the state and the counties because it addresses the major projects that no single county would have the resources to undertake,” Patterson said. “We also greatly appreciate the involvement of Oklahoma’s tribal governments, who continue to be very engaged on county roads just like they are on highway projects.”

Patterson also updated the commission on the agency’s ongoing effort to improve hundreds of rail crossings statewide using a combination of state and federal funds and proceeds from the 2014 sale of state-owned rail line. In fall 2015, ODOT announced a list of about 300 rail crossings statewide that would be improved within a three-year timeframe. To date, $48 million has been dedicated to improve 165 rail crossings on highways, city streets and county roads.

The commission voted to awarded a nearly $3.8 million contract for a preventative maintenance project to seal the expansion joints on the I-44 Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City. This project will help preserve the bridge by keeping salt and water from corroding the structural steel and concrete below as ODOT continues a long-range study of options for future removal of the bridge.  

Commissioners approved a contract for rehabilitation of the N.W. 12th St., N.W. 23rd St. and N.W. 36th St. bridges over I-44 near the State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City in addition to the Scott St. bridge over I-40 in Del City. Several bridges over I-44 in the area are currently being rehabilitated as part of a separate project. They also awarded several contracts for traffic signal improvements in Norman using federal funds and a more than $6 million contract to reconstruct and widen nearly four miles of US-270 near Seiling in Dewey County as part of the ongoing effort to expand the corridor to four lanes south of Woodward.

In all, commissioners awarded 41 contracts totaling $71.7 million to improve bridges, highways, interstates and roads in 25 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Alfalfa, Bryan, Love, Cherokee, Cimarron, Cleveland, Craig, Creek, Dewey, Ellis, Greer, Harper, Johnston, Kay, Lincoln, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Ottawa, Osage, Rogers, Sequoyah, Texas, Tulsa and Wagoner counties. A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the October letting 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 next regular meeting is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 5.

Contracts, bid information, the commission’s monthly agenda and project details may be viewed at www.odot.org.