TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says it's excited to report that it's landed almost $50 million from the federal government to replace the westbound I-244 bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa.
ODOT and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration signed the formal TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Grant agreement Wednesday, December 15th, 2010.
ODOT says the grant was actually awarded in February, and will provide $49.4 million of the estimated $80 million needed to replace the I-244 bridge. Now that the formal agreement has been signed, ODOT can start the project, which means putting it out for bid in March.
According to ODOT the replacement bridge will be "multi-modal"; incorporating a new section of the westbound highway, two dedicated future rail lines and an area for bicycle/pedestrian traffic into a double-decker style bridge.
The federal money for the project is coming from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation, "Recovery Act dollars will pay for the replacement of the existing bridge, which is in deteriorated condition. It requires excessive lane closures for maintenance work, creating delays for travelers and extensive costs for the state. It is ranked as one of the worst five interstate bridges in the state, according to ODOT."
ODOT is already moving forward with construction. It announced Wednesday that the left lane of east and westbound I-244 on the west leg of the IDL will be closed until further notice to build a median access road.
The road will be used as a future detour route for the I-244/Arkansas River bridge project.
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