Road Crews Stabilize Tulsa Highways

Wednesday, December 10th 2008, 5:16 pm
By: News On 6

By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Road crews on Green Country highways are hard to miss. It had a News On 6 viewer asking a good question about how the work is done.

Paula in Ochelata wants to know about the three sections of concrete that are cut out inside the lanes. The News On 6 got the answer straight from an engineer with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

The southbound lane of Highway 75 and 36th Street North is the scene of a road crew at work.

Crews with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation say it may look like they are resurfacing the highway, but they're actually stabilizing portions of the road.

A main part of the process involves three strips of cut-out sections of concrete. A News On 6 viewer asked us a good question and wanted to know what they are.

"We do get that a lot and those little slots are to support the pavement," said Paul Green, ODOT Engineer.

Paul Green is an ODOT engineer. He says heavy wear and tear on the highway causes the concrete panels to settle unevenly.

"There will be a little bit of settlement at those joints, every fifteen feet, and that's what causes that thud, thud, thud in your car as you're going down the road," said Green.

In order to fix it, ODOT removes pieces of the road and puts bars in the grooves to help the panels realign.

It's technically called a "dowel bar retrofit." Think of it like shoelaces that keep your shoes together.

Every 15 feet, six steel bars in each lane are placed under the highway, then crews come through and smooth out the pavement.

Green says the project is less expensive than resurfacing and essentially has the same result.

Those roads are generally 35, 40-years-old. They've gotten worn a little bit and they've settled at different rates. So, we're trying to get some support back under those and gain another ten years or so.

Right now crews are working on five miles of southbound Highway 75 between 244 and 56th Street North.

The northbound side was finished last year.