The commission approved designation of historic Route 66 in Oklahoma as a new bicycle route and authorized ODOT to apply for its addition to the national U.S. Bicycle Route System. If approved by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials at its upcoming summer meeting, the historic route in Oklahoma will be added to a national map and become eligible for future bicycle route signage. The route in Oklahoma includes state highways, city streets, and county roads that were part of historic Route 66.
Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz briefed commissioners on the agency’s response to multiple storms characterized by prolonged freezing temperatures and waves of snow and ice. He noted that the repeated freeze-thaw cycle during the winter will contribute to more potholes and cautioned motorists to be alert to more highway maintenance work zones in the coming months.
Gatz updated the commission on the status of federal funding for transportation programs. Gatz noted that the transportation community is optimistic that Congress will act soon to appropriate a full year of transportation funding, including increased resources for bridge work. He also provided preliminary information on the new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program, which will provide $66 million in federal funding to Oklahoma during the next five years for electric vehicle charging improvements. The department will be working with other state agencies to prepare a plan to use the funding to incentivize upgrades and expansion of the state’s EV charging network.
Commissioners awarded contracts for two major bridge projects on highways in Green Country, including more than $3 million for rehabilitation of the US-75 bridges over West 41st Street in Tulsa and nearly $14 million for rehabilitation of the westbound US-412 bridge over the Verdigris River near Catoosa. The eastbound US-412 bridge was rehabilitated in 2017. This bridge is a major crossing of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, and the US-412 corridor could potentially be designated as a future interstate highway. The commission also awarded contracts for pavement reconstruction on US-70 west of Ardmore and widening of US-183 to four lanes south of Cordell.
Commissioners voted to award 24 contracts totaling nearly $100 million to improve highways, roads, and bridges in 23 counties. Contracts were awarded for projects in Adair, Carter, Choctaw, Comanche, Custer, Ellis, Harmon, Haskell, Kiowa, Bryan, Love, Marshall, Mayes, McCurtain, Nowata, Okfuskee, Oklahoma, Osage, Rogers, Sequoyah, Tillman, Tulsa, and Washita counties.