OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's next eight-year construction plan.

The plan covers almost 2,000 projects in fiscal years 2015-2022 and costing approximately $6.3 billion. ODOT says the plan will address the backlog of what it calls critical transportation improvements.

ODOT says its eight-year plan continues its decade-long effort to reduce the number of structurally deficient highway bridges, which has decreased from an all-time high of 1,168 bridges in 2004 to 468 at the end of 2013. 

"ODOT is committed to staying the course so Oklahoma can begin the next decade as one of the top states for good highway bridges in the nation," Executive Director Mike Patterson said. "We appreciate the vision of the governor and state legislature for continued improvement to our state's transportation system."

ODOT says the plan's new projects include five miles of pavement rehabilitation on I-44 in southwest Oklahoma City and the $13 million rehabilitation of several Highway 75 bridges at the southeast corner of the Inner Dispersal Loop in Tulsa, both scheduled for fiscal year 2022.

ODOT first implemented its Eight-year Plan in this format in 2003. It focuses on addressing what ODOT believes is the state's greatest transportation needs in an accountable and businesslike manner. 

The project selection process is very rigorous, according to ODOT, with transportation commissioners working with ODOT engineers to identify the state's most critical highway and bridge projects and create a balanced statewide plan. 

The Eight-year Plan is updated every year to reflect project completions, adjustments in projected revenue and changes in construction costs. As the previous fiscal year comes off of the plan, another year is added based on forecasting of available federal and state funding, ODOT says.