Major improvements planned for metro interstates this summer

Interstate traffic I-235 in Oklahoma City

Interstate traffic and construction on I-235 in Oklahoma City, facing south, is seen on May 2, 2017. (KFOR/Bill Miston)

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will fund major interstate improvements in the metro area this summer.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission held a meeting by video teleconference on Monday and approved contracts for two major interstate projects in the metro, according to an ODOT news release.

“Commission members approved contracts for two major interstate projects that will greatly affect traffic in the Oklahoma City metro area, with work on both expected to begin in late summer,” the news release states.

The first project will cost nearly $80 million and focuses on replacing six bridges on Interstate 40 at Crutcho Creek, S.E. 15th St. and Sooner Road in Del City.

“The bridges are in poor condition and require constant maintenance and repairs, and five of the structures are rated structurally deficient,” the news release states.

The second project will cost nearly $28 million and focuses on rehabilitating the concrete pavement and nine bridges on I-44 between I-40 and just south of I-240 on the city’s southwest side. The project will require lanes to be closed in the busy corridor, which serves Will Rogers World Airport.

“These six bridges on I-40 in Del City are some of the worst we have anywhere on the interstate in Oklahoma, so we’re really looking forward to getting those replaced with brand-new infrastructure,” Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “The work on I-40 in Del City and on I-44 will be very disruptive to metro-area traffic, so we ask drivers to be patient and mindful in these work zones and others statewide.”

Commissioners awarded 35 contracts amounting to more than $157 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 28 counties.

Contracts were awarded for projects in the following counties: Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Carter, Choctaw, Comanche, Custer, Delaware, Ellis, Garfield, Grady, Johnston, Kingfisher, Kiowa, Logan, Murray, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Ottawa, Pittsburg, Seminole, Pontotoc, Stephens, Texas, Tulsa, Washington and Washita counties.

For a list of all awarded contracts, click here, select the May 2020 AM letting, click Go, then click Award.

Commissioners were also briefed on state funding for transportation in State Fiscal Year 2021. The approved budget agreement for the 2021 fiscal year includes a $180 million reduction to ODOT’s highway construction program, “with authorization for the agency to issue $200 million in bonds to help keep projects on track and to make bond payments for the first year,” according to the news release.

Commissioners were also informed that the federal government approved the Transportation Infrastructure Finance Innovation Act loan for the Gilcrease Expressway project in Tulsa. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is building the expressway. ODOT and other local entities are partnering on the project.

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