Transportation Commission approves $89 million in projects


Tuesday, July 11th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Just six months after setting a state record for road-projects spending, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission has done it again. The commission on Monday approved $89 million in roadway contracts, which Transportation Director Neal McCaleb said was the largest instate history. The previous record was $73.4 million in January.

"What happened was we did not let any capital improvement projects since February," McCaleb said in explaining Monday's record. "We didn't have the money." The Legislature appropriated an additional $92.5 million, of which $6.8 million was vetoed by Gov. Frank Keating, McCaleb said. "So we had the money, and we advertised in June and let them," he said. "It would have been $101 million, but $12 million was rejected for various reasons."

About two-thirds of the $89 million is for contracts in the state's five-year, $1 billion capital improvement projects that were approved in 1997. Prior to the Legislature's action, McCaleb said, he had been getting a little nervous about the fate of the $1 billion program. "Anything could have gone wrong -- material shortages or a variety of things," he said. "As it turned out, we got good bids."

Of the $1 billion in projects, 60 percent have been obligated, McCaleb said. He said the department is hoping for an additional$40 million next year for the program. In addition to the $89 million, the department got the authority to sell $150 million in bonds to raise funds for projects, McCalebsaid. He said the bonds probably will be sold in August o rSeptember.

The largest contract in Monday's lettings was for $17 million to six-lane about 2.5 miles on the Broadway Extension in Oklahoma City near Hefner Road. The Broadway Extension is the major north-south corridor connecting Edmond to Oklahoma City.

Tulsa County projects included $12.5 million for grade, drain, bridge and surface improvements on the Broken Arrow Expresswa ybeginning at U.S. 169 and extending east for about one mile.