|Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report|
The ODOT "Update on Oklahoma Bridges and Highways"
By Andrew W. Griffin
Red Dirt Report, editor
Posted: June 12, 2012
OKLAHOMA CITY – Gary Ridley, Oklahoma’s Secretary of Transportation, discussed the current nature of the state’s bridges and highways during his talk Monday night to the Bricktown Rotary Club.
“It’s important for people to know what we are doing with your money,” Ridley said.
The focus of his talk, of course was Oklahoma’s well-known bridge problem. Since January 2006, 626 bridges have been replaced or rehabbed thanks to additional state funding that has been provided by the State Legislature.
And now a new construction work plan, scheduled for the period 2012-2019, has been planned to rehabilitate 799 bridges. Additionally it is also addressing an additional 126 “that are structurally deficient.”
Interestingly, Oklahoma has more bridges than Florida, Georgia, Michigan and other states, Ridley said.
It’s a major job and an expensive job and not all the bridges can be addressed at this time. And the bridges are everywhere from Cimarron County in the Panhandle to around Idabel in far southeastern Oklahoma, and everywhere in between.
Highway improvements are ongoing. The state’s annual investment in surface rehabilitation is $65 million while the remaining number of inadequate highways with no improvements currently scheduled is 3,160 miles. That’s a lot of road.
Ridley said that particularly in the Oklahoma City metro area that work is being done at the treacherous I-44/I-235 interchange, a spot that handles as many as 82,000 vehicles per day. The work will eventually stretch along I-235 from around 63rd Street south to 36th street.
Ridley’s overall message was that his department is taking on these tasks quickly and seriously and that for the time to come, motorists will continue to see roadwork and bridge repair and replacement across the Sooner State.
In a separate discussion with Ridley, Red Dirt Report asked the Transportation Secretary if he felt it was important to include county signs along the state’s turnpikes. He said he had not really thought about it but thought it was a good idea.
Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report