Oklahoma highway system to get nearly $8B in upgrades

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said Monday that it would be using federal grants and additional state funding to support more than 1,600 critically needed highway construction and safety projects over the next eight years.

The department said it was committing an additional nearly $2 billion into highway infrastructure, bringing the total committed to nearly $8 billion. Earlier the department added more than 300 projects to the state’s Eight-Year Construction Plan for 2022-2029. Commissioners also approved a $484 million investment in preventative maintenance through the Asset Preservation Plan for 2022-2025.

“Oklahoma truly has some great momentum in bringing our highway system back to a manageable condition, and this year’s update to the Eight-Year Plan and Asset Preservation Plan will help us continue to preserve and enhance the transportation system,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz said. “We remain laser focused on maintaining Oklahoma’s Top Ten national status for good bridge conditions and will continue our work completing corridor upgrades, adding shoulders to rural, two-lane highways and improving pavement conditions. ODOT greatly appreciates the steadfast support of the Transportation Commission, Gov. Kevin Stitt, the Legislature and our congressional delegation that makes these investments in Oklahoma’s future possible.”

Due to the legislature restoring $180 million in state appropriated funding, the ODOT was able to budget for more needed projects in its plan update. The department also anticipates the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) fund will increase in 2023 from $575 million to $590 million.

The state is also one of the first states to take advantage of the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) Rural Project Initiative at the U.S. Department of Transportation that accelerates rural, two-lane improvement projects already in the Eight-Year Plan. Using low-interest TIFIA loans will help the state increase funding and add more projects to the plan.

Other components of the plan include a $72 million federal grant to add capacity at I-40 near Midwest City and to reconstruct the US 281 Bridgeport Bridge at the Canadian/Caddo county line. Also, a $50 million grant was secured by the Texas Department of Transportation to improve I-35 at the Red River.

The total investment will fund 1,657 projects, covering 2,296 miles of roadway including 1,013 miles on two-lane highways and 685 bridge rehabilitations or replacements.