ODOT Finalizes $5.5 Billion Plan To Repair Oklahoma's Worst Bridges

Monday, September 10th 2012, 7:15 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The state Department of Transportation finalized a plan Monday to repair or replace all of Oklahoma's worst bridges by 2020.

Those worst-of-the-worst bridges are called "structurally deficient".

Aside from the bridges, there are plenty of roads in bad shape, too, but ODOT said Monday, they finally see a point where the state isn't waiting until things fall apart to fix them, but instead maintains roads and bridges.

That point is about 10 years away, but it started with a $5.5 billion plan approved Monday.

The plan includes repairs or replacement for 634 bridges, some of them vital links, like the I-244 bridge over the Arkansas River going eastbound. That's planned for next year.

2/18/2012 Related Story: Feds Give ODOT $50 Million Grant For I-244 Bridge Project

Other projects are massive and far in the future, like rebuilding the interchange of the Broken Arrow Expressway and Highway 169.

That's a $31 million project planned for 2018.

ODOT calls this their 8-year plan.

It determines which projects will be done, in what order, and how ODOT will pay for them.

The new plan dedicates $5.5 billion in spending between now and 2020.

All structurally deficient bridges will be repaired under the plan, which includes 320 major rehabilitation projects.

All of this depends on continued state and federal funding for roads and bridges, which is something that's been promised, but is always subject to budgetary and political pressure.

ODOT said this is not only the most expensive plan they've ever created, it's also the most comprehensive in getting rid of the worst of the worst, then maintaining the roads from there.