State Approves Highway Cable Barriers

Monday, September 10th 2007, 2:14 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Transportation Commission on Monday approved the addition of 31 miles of cable barriers designed to prevent deadly crossover accidents on busy stretches of highway.

The commission awarded contracts to install the barriers along portions of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma and Cleveland counties, I-40 in Custer County and U.S. 75 in Tulsa County for a total cost of $4 million.

The barriers, which were first erected along Lake Hefner Parkway in 2001, are installed in the median of high-traffic areas where crossover accidents are likely.

``Normally those accidents are extremely horrific, and there's a higher chance of fatalities,'' said Terry Angier, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Since February, the commission has approved the installation of 114 miles of cable barriers in Oklahoma, most along busy stretches of interstate, at a cost of about $14 million.

``By the end of the year, we plan to award another 20 miles for an additional cost of $3 million,'' Angier said.

The commission also was updated on repairs to the State Highway 6 bridge over Interstate 40 near Elk City that was badly damaged Aug. 29 when a tractor-trailer slammed into a bridge support and burst into flames, killing two people.

Concerns about the stability of the bridge deck prompted transportation officials to reroute Interstate 40 traffic and close State Highway 6. An emergency contract for $150,000 was issued to stabilize the bridge deck, and a second contract for $316,000 was issued to replace the damaged pier.

Commissioners also learned that an ODOT employee severely injured while rerouting traffic in the area is continuing to recover.

Larry Dunlap, 54, of Sayre, was flagging traffic along I-40 on Aug. 31 when a 3/4-ton pickup truck traveling about 50 mph slammed into him, breaking his pelvis, leg and all the ribs on his left side, said Brent Almquist, a Clinton-based division engineer.

Almquist said Dunlap, a 23-year ODOT veteran, has undergone numerous surgeries and remains in critical, but stable, condition at an Oklahoma City hospital.

Meanwhile, ODOT crews have been repairing numerous bridges and roads washed out during heavy flooding that has battered the state in recent months, said Deputy Director John Fuller.

``We can't seem to get one flood event tied up, bundled up and finished before we have another one,'' Fuller said.

Fuller said state and federal officials are working with 24 counties eligible to access emergency funds for road repairs.

Watch the video: Oklahoma Roads To Get More Cable Barriers