Highlights of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission’s Monday, May 4 video teleconference meeting include announcement of Work Zone Safety Awareness activities in May and updates on the impact of COVID-19 on travel and Oklahoma Department of Transportation operations.
The commission awarded contracts for highway projects on SH-85A in Delaware County, SH-77H and SH-66 in Oklahoma County, US-169 in Rogers County, US-70 in Marshall County, as well as sidewalk projects in Cleveland, Oklahoma, Kay and Woods counties.
The commission met to conduct business in a video teleconference, with all nine commission members attending remotely as a public health precaution. A recording of this meeting can be viewed online at https://vimeo.com/odot.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz presented the commission with a proclamation from Gov. Kevin Stitt declaring Work Zone Awareness Week observed on May 15-22 in Oklahoma. The proclamation notes that 95 people, including four ODOT workers, were killed in highway and turnpike work zones in the past five years.
With summer approaching, Oklahomans are more likely to be traveling and will be encountering construction on highways statewide. The governor’s proclamation urges drivers to stay alert and practice the Oklahoma Standard in work zones.
“Traffic volumes are still down, but we’ll likely begin seeing more Oklahomans traveling this summer,” Gatz said. “We’ve unfortunately seen an increase in reckless speeding in recent weeks, so we are desperately asking drivers to buckle up, slow down and pay attention, especially in work zones where there is little room for error.”
Gatz also briefed commissioners on the impact of COVID-19 on transportation in Oklahoma. Daily traffic volumes on Oklahoma highways were down by more than 30% in March and are beginning to slightly increase. Public transit ridership has also decreased sharply nationwide due to the pandemic and ODOT is working to administer federal funding assistance provided by Congress to help Oklahoma’s transit providers cover their costs.
Commission members approved a $14.5 million contract to replace the SH-85A bridge over Horse Creek near Bernice, along with contracts to rehabilitate the SH-77H/Sooner Rd. bridge over I-240 and the SH-66/39th Expressway bridge over SH-74/Lake Hefner Parkway in Oklahoma City.
They also voted to award contracts for US-169 resurfacing between Oologah and Talala, US-70 resurfacing near Madill and sidewalk construction projects on SH-9 in Norman, I-240 Frontage Rd. in Oklahoma City, Main St. in Tonkawa and US-281 in Waynoka.
Commissioners voted to award 43 contracts totaling more than $83 million to improve highways, roads and bridges in 33 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Adair, Beaver, Blaine, Bryan, Caddo, Cherokee, Cleveland, Creek, Delaware, Garfield, Grady, Harmon, Haskell, Hughes, Jefferson, Kay, Lincoln, Major, Marshall, Muskogee, Noble, Oklahoma, Osage, Latimer, Pushmataha, Rogers, Seminole, Sequoyah, Tillman, Tulsa, Wagoner, Washington and Woods counties.
A list of all awarded contracts can be found by visiting www.odot.org/contracts, selecting the April 2020 AM letting, clicking Go, then Award.