OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – It’s a big step forward for the State of Oklahoma when it comes to our state highway bridges.
The Federal Highway Administration ranked Oklahoma ninth in the country for good bridge conditions.
Back in 2004, Oklahoma was ranked 49th.
At that point, 1,200 of our 6,800 highway bridges were deemed “structurally deficient” or needed major repairs.
It’s a transformation that has been 15 years in the making.
“In the years since, drivers in every area of the state have seen orange barrels going up and this work got underway,” said Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz.
ODOT inspects each bridge every two years. The results are then sent to the FHA and that’s what they base their rankings on.
“It’s an investment, it’s having a strategy,” said Gatz.
Now, 68 bridges in Oklahoma are in need of major repairs or should be replaced.
“We’re working on those diligently, I would tell you that we are not done with our bridge infrastructure. We’ve got 1,100 still out on the highway system that are 80-years- old today, so we’ve got to continue our diligence,” said Gatz.
Gatz also points out that our state ranks close to 50th for our pavement.
Gov. Stitt focused on the fact that good infrastructure makes Oklahoma a destination.
“It makes us a state that visitors want to drive to not drive by, and it keeps our communities connected together,” he said.
State leaders chalk this new ranking up to investments, many of which come from taxpayer dollars.
“The taxpayers should be proud of this accomplishment because every investment dollar that’s gone into making it happen is theirs,” said Gatz.
Another focus area of the department is improving two lane highways in rural parts of the state.
It’s important to note, ODOT is only responsible for state highways, US highways, and the interstate system.
They do not have jurisdiction over country roads and city streets.