Secretary of Transportation and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Executive Director Tim Gatz updated the commission on the status of the federal funding Continuing Resolution affecting federal transportation funding. The department was previously operating under a short-term funding extension passed in late October, but a long-term bill is needed to help state DOTs fund projects into the new year. If another resolution is passed in the meantime, it can sustain the department’s operations and keep projects moving forward until there can be final legislation passed for a full appropriations bill.
“We will be cautious as we move forward and diligent about making decisions to invest the federal funds that we have available until we get past this and into a full appropriations bill. We’re confident that will happen,” Gatz said.
Using a portion of the Formula Bridge Program funding, the department established a city Structurally Deficient Bridge Plan in July 2022 to eliminate off-system structurally deficient bridges. Working in conjunction with the cities to continue those efforts, the commission approved adding 15 bridges in Blanchard, Coweta, Grove, Henryetta, Idabel, Inola, Medicine Park, Seminole, Skiatook, Waynoka, and Woodward to the plan.
Commissioners also approved a nearly $5 million project for the installation of I-35 countermeasures to help prevent wrong-way drivers between Oklahoma County and the Texas state line. Work includes installation of flashing signs, sign upgrades, and raised pavement marking. This is the fourth project, following installations on I-40 from Oklahoma County west to Texas, east to Arkansas, and I-35 north from Oklahoma County to Kansas.
The commission also voted to approve a nearly $5.5 million resurfacing project on Midwest Boulevard in Midwest City that will repave 3 miles of asphalt, improve drainage, and create ADA compliant sidewalks. The project is in partnership with the City of Midwest City and Association of Central Oklahoma Governments through its Transportation Improvement Plan.
Also approved was a $9 million bridge rehabilitation and lighting upgrade of the eastbound I-244 ramp to SH-11 in Tulsa. Work is expected to start in the spring and will have a significant impact to Tulsa International Airport traffic.
Commissioners voted to award 27 contracts totaling more than $94 million to improve highways, roads, and bridges statewide.