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ODOT Funding Cuts Could Delay Construction Projects

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The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says it won't be able to bankroll some planned projects this fall because Congress has temporarily reduced its funding by more than 85 percent. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says it won't be able to bankroll some planned projects this fall because Congress has temporarily reduced its funding by more than 85 percent.
The City of Tulsa has been working on the Gilcrease Expressway since 1961, and after Monday's decision, it could be several more decades before it's finished. The City of Tulsa has been working on the Gilcrease Expressway since 1961, and after Monday's decision, it could be several more decades before it's finished.
"ODOT is just going to hold the plans, and until we get the nod from the folks in DC, we're kind of on hold," said Paul Zachary, Public Works Deputy Director. "ODOT is just going to hold the plans, and until we get the nod from the folks in DC, we're kind of on hold," said Paul Zachary, Public Works Deputy Director.
By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Cuts in federal funding has derailed some big-time highway construction projects. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says it won't be able to bankroll some planned projects this fall because Congress has temporarily reduced its funding by more than 85 percent.

The City of Tulsa has been working on the Gilcrease Expressway since 1961, and after Monday's decision, it could be several more decades before it's finished.

"This ultimately is going to be looping down the western side of the city and coming back into I-44," said Paul Zachary, Public Works Deputy Director.

Completing the Gilcrease Expressway has been a long-time goal for Deputy Director of Public Works Paul Zachary. The road is intended to lighten the traffic load for the heavily used Inner Dispersal Loop. But cuts in funding mean he will have to remain patient.

"ODOT is just going to hold the plans, and until we get the nod from the folks in DC, we're kind of on hold," said Paul Zachary.

ODOT announced the statewide cuts during its monthly meeting in Oklahoma City Monday. Officials hope the shortfall is temporary.

"In this case of course with delaying November, what happens is when that process is back on track, and we know what funding we have, the first projects that get back on track would be the ones we delayed," said Terri Angier, ODOT Spokesperson.

Even though the Gilcrease Expressway is on hold, most plans avoided the axe, including one on Highway 75 that may make your commute a little simpler.

ODOT will still spend $12 million to construct an overpass at 111th street in Jenks. When it's built, drivers will be able to avoid the infamous traffic light there.

Over on I-44 near Catoosa, a bridge at 161st East Avenue, known for its crumbling concrete, will be replaced. That will cost $7.4 million.

Also, there are plans to expand the massive widening project on 44. The highway will now be widened from four to six lanes eastward until Darlington, instead of Yale.

Of course, all of this is of little solace to Paul Zachary.

"So we're getting ready to go to the next step, and we stub our toe," said Paul Zachary.

ODOT reports the funding issues have nothing to do with stimulus money, so projects like revamping the IDL will not be affected.

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