Reps. Sneed, Frix, Sanders Meet with Rural Fire Chiefs

OKLAHOMA CITY – Wednesday, State Reps. Chris Sneed (R-Fort Gibson), Avery Frix (R-Muskogee and House Majority Leader Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher) met with rural fire chiefs from Muskogee and Cherokee counties in Muskogee.

“We discussed issues facing our rural fire departments and firefighters,” Sneed said. “This included a discussion on the need for a cost-of-living adjustment through their state pension plan, other issues surrounding pensions, recruitment and retention, aging equipment, ways to attract younger volunteers and more. I was happy to help facilitate this meeting as we look at ways we as lawmakers can support our rural fire departments.”

Frix, who has run legislation the past few years to give firefighters and other state retirees a COLA, said today’s discussion was productive. “This gives us a better grasp of the issues facing our rural firefighters and their needs as they work to protect lives and property.”

Sanders said he has spent much of his career as a lawmaker working to ensure the needs of rural fire departments are met. He’s passed several pieces of legislation that have allowed fire departments to recruit volunteers over the age of 45 who do not need to be added to the state’s pension plan.

“I have always been on the side of our rural fire chiefs, and will continue this work to build the ranks of volunteers and to make sure they have what they need to do their jobs,” he said.

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Funding for Dyslexia Screening

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Recently I invited educators, reading specialists, parents and others to the state Capitol to tell me and other legislators about their experience in parenting or working with students who are dyslexic and to discuss possible solutions.

We heard several heartbreaking stories of children who were bullied at school or pressured by parents and educators because their disability was undiagnosed and misunderstood. We heard the story of Nathaniel who truly wanted to learn, but who just could not read at the same level as his peers and fell further and further behind in school. Not understanding that his brain was not properly decoding the letters and words on the page, his teachers thought he was rebellious and obstinate or lazy. They made him skip recess and class parties because he was behind on his work. He watched as his classmates enjoyed ice cream and other treats that he was denied because he had not finished assignments. He was pleaded with to just try harder – not a technique the works for dyslexia. Nathaniel eventually gave up sports and other activities that provided him an outlet and eventually dropped out of his public school. Today, he learns through an online program at home. Even now that he’s been properly diagnosed and is receiving help, he still battles with anxiety and depression. 

The saddest part is, there is no need for this to have happened to Nathaniel or any of the other thousands of students who have dyslexia. We have the evidence-based research that shows us which screening tools actually help teachers recognize these students in early grades when intervention is most successful. One issue, of course, is cost – there are hundreds of areas of need that pull state dollars. Another issue is getting school districts and the state Department of Education on the same page as to which screening tools and reading programs are necessary, are actually evidence based and proven to work, and that best serve the needs of students. We hear about local control, but we need to make sure we are selecting services proven to work.

All of this was the focus of an interim study I held before the House Appropriations and Budget Education Subcommittee. I invited members of Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma who worked with me on House Bill 1228, which passed the Legislature earlier this year and was signed into law by the governor. This law will provide professional development for teachers beginning in the 2020-21 school year to help them recognize students with dyslexia and determine how best to help these students to put them on a better pathway toward learning on pace with their peers.

My interim study also looked at a possible next steps, including adding screening for these students and examining how that might be funded. I also think a good argument could be made for requiring our teaching colleges to add courses that train teachers in how to teach reading, particularly those that are entering early elementary classrooms.

We also heard from educators, reading specialists and administrators from the state Department of Education to explain what currently is being offered to students with dyslexia and what will best help them moving forward.

I was encouraged by the presentations. It seems we know the tools that work. Now we have to work on funding them and getting them into each elementary school in the state. This will help us properly identify dyslexic students and get them on a path toward reading.

Reading is not just another subject; it is the foundational skill for all other learning. If a student can’t read, they can’t perform well in science or history or even math. Add to that studies that show students with dyslexia are at a higher risk of dropping out of school or holding a job that earns them a living wage or studies that show our prisons are full of people who cannot read. Many of our prisoners may in fact be dyslexic.

And yet, with the proper screening and interventions at an early age, the same research shows that 90 percent of children can learn to read. We owe it to them to give this skill.

Remember, I am always available. If I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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Observing Veterans Day

By Rep. Mike Sanders

On Nov. 11, 1918, at the 11th hour – after a brutally fought and bloody war that took an enormous toll in terms of human life and suffering – allied nations and Germany put into effect an armistice to stop what was then considered “the war to end all wars,” World War I.

Thus was born the original Armistice Day – a day to celebrate peace and an end to war.

We, of course, now know how fleeting was that hope. That would not be the war to end all wars. In fact, United States of America military men and women have been often involved in conflicts both at home and across the globe many times since 1918 – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, 9-11 and others.

And so, Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day – a day to celebrate and honor all of the men and women who have served in the various branches of our military since our nation’s birth to present day.

It is on this day that citizens of the United States of America gather far and wide in local assemblies, parades and other ceremonies to thank these heroes for their service and their sacrifice and to remember that is because of their valor that we remain the strongest free and independent nation in the world.

We listen to stories, salute flags and say prayers of thanksgiving for this service.

On this day as on many others, I examine at my own life – my beautiful wife and happy and healthy sons, my extended family, a roof over our heads where our family can grow in the thriving community we call home, the job I get to go to each day and the many events and activities we enjoy – and I am reminded anew of the quality of life I wish to preserve. And then I think of our veterans and the cost they paid so that I and other Americans might enjoy such blessings.

Often our veterans sacrifice youth, body, innocence, time away from family, friends who die in the line or duty or who simply move on with their lives while the veteran serves, and too often our service men and women pay the ultimate sacrifice - their very lives. Families pay a great price as well, waiting and worrying and handling all of the burdens of home until their loved one returns, grieving beyond comprehension when they don’t.

And while all of our veterans and their families deserve our gratitude and our honor, they also deserve our pledge to try to understand their needs and to help them in any way we can as they transition back to civilian life.

It has been one of my goals as a lawmaker to author and support legislation that benefits our veterans and eases life for them. We of course have a long way to go to make sure their health needs are met, that they receive each benefit to which they are entitled, to ensure they are trained for secondary careers once they exit the military and to ease the burdensome process that now exists in our veterans administration system. I personally will keep working toward these goals, and I know others will as well. Our veterans, after all, deserve the best treatment in exchange for their valiant service. Thank you to all who have served our nation. May God richly bless you.

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Pausing to be Thankful

By Rep. Mike Sanders

In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving. Of course, this wasn’t the first such proclamation to be issued – that was done by the Continental Congress in 1777. The first Thanksgiving Day celebrated under the new Constitution took place November 26, 1789, in the first year of George Washington’s presidency. He called for a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. After that, Presidents John Adams and James Madison issued similar proclamations, adding a plea for fasting. But the policy fell into disuse until Lincoln, and it is his proclamation I like best of all, perhaps because it came during a time of civil disunity and yet it recognized there was still much for which to be grateful. Whatever the case, I reprint it here:

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

“In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere, except in the theatre of military conflict, while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

“Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense have not arrested the plow, the shuttle, or the ship; the ax has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

“No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next as a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.”

I am blessed to live in this wonderful nation and in Oklahoma, its best state. I am blessed to have my wife Nellie and our sons and to be surrounded by so many friends and constituents who care for preserving our freedoms and our way of life. May God richly bless each of you this Thanksgiving.

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Interim Studies Underway

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Interim studies are underway in the Legislature. Several are being held each week on a wide variety of topics from economic growth to agriculture, utilities, energy, education, health care and much more.

Once session starts in February 2020, lawmakers will hear dozens of bills in each committee meeting and then vote on hundreds of pieces of legislation over a short period. These interim studies give us time to slow down and ask questions of different experts on each topic and analyze costs and other factors of proposed legislation.

I will be holding my own interim study this fall on funding for dyslexia screenings for students as part the Reading Sufficiency Act.

In this particular interim study, the Appropriations and Budget Subcommittee on Education will take a look at adding screening for these students and how it could be funded. We’ll hear from the experts on this matter, including those from Decoding Dyslexia Oklahoma Task Force, so we’ll know how to move forward on any potential legislation.

I was able last year to pass a bill to provide professional development for teachers to help them recognize students with dyslexia and to help them determine how best to help these students to put them on a better pathway toward learning on pace with their peers.

An interim study I attended last week at the Capitol tackled a completely separate issue – Oklahoma’s formula for calculating corporate income taxes.

This study examined what it would mean to shift from Oklahoma’s current three-factor formula for corporate tax liability calculations to a single-factor formula. The current formula uses each corporation’s property tax, sales tax, and payroll tax in a three-factor calculation, whereas a single-factor formula would only use each corporation’s sales tax for such calculation. Many states have adopted the single-factor structure touting it as a way to incentivize corporate relocation and growth

Legislation to change Oklahoma’s structure was presented last session but then laid over after the State Chamber voiced concerns about the bill.

Tony Mastin, executive director of the Oklahoma Tax Commission suggested lawmakers take a closer look at Oklahoma corporations that may be affected by a corporate tax structure change. He suggested change would have a negative impact such as revenue loss for at least the first year with more analysis needed. Director Mastin also discussed some analysis of states that have already changed, including Pennsylvania and Georgia.

I’ll be attending other interim studies this fall, including several that will be heard in the Agriculture Committee. One will seek to identify the bureaucratic and statutory problems Oklahoma beef producers face and identify legislative measures that could benefit them. We also want to look at ways to educate Oklahoma beef consumers of the benefits of choosing Oklahoma beef products. Another study will examine changes made by OSU to the extension program and the role of county extension offices in cooperative extension in the future.

On the energy front, one study will look at investment in renewable energy sources to help continue to diversity Oklahoma’s economy.

A study before the Transportation Committee will look at potential conflicts between state statute and the administrative code on funding and maintenance of the state highway system and county highway system.

One study that will come before the Utilities Committee, which I chair, will involve the topic of eminent domain as it relates to wind transmission lines. This is being sponsored by the representative from the Panhandle where this has become an issue with property owners in that area. Another will look at expanding the broadband network to rural areas and communities.

Another study before the Utilities Committee that could have an impact for rural communities will examine Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants, looking at the structure, funding level and effectiveness of the grants for rural communities to see if there are opportunities for growth or improvement to the program.

I’ll keep you posted on things I learn.

In the meantime, if I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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Real Progress Needed on REAL ID

By Rep. Mike Sanders

I received an email from a constituent recently asking if she could still use her Oklahoma driver’s license to fly commercially. I thought it was a question that others might like to see the answer to as well.

Here’s our status: We are in compliance via an extension from the federal government through Oct. 10. This means the federal government will continue to recognize Oklahoma’s driver license and ID cards until that date. Oklahomans also can gain access to federal buildings and military installations using these documents until that date.

Gov. Stitt, meanwhile, has submitted the required letter of request for an additional extension to become compliant fully by October of 2020, and it looks as if the Department of Homeland Security is working closely with Oklahoma to review that request.

On Aug. 5, the Department of Homeland Security issued the following statement about the few remaining states out of compliance, including Oklahoma:

“The majority of states have already been determined to be fully compliant by DHS, and all the remaining states have committed to becoming compliant by October 2020,” said DHS spokesperson McLaurine Klingler. “The remaining noncompliant states are working closely with DHS to share their plans and schedules for implementing the Act. All the states granted extensions to the compliance deadline by DHS are participating in periodic program reviews with DHS and are making timely progress towards meeting the REAL ID requirements.”

I wish I could tell you that the 2020 extension had been officially granted, but we are still waiting. In the meantime, it might be wise if traveling after Oct. 10 to carry alternative forms of identification. A list of alternative identification documents accepted by the Transportation Security Administration can be found here:https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/identification.

REAL ID stems back to 2005, when the U.S. Congress approved the measure as a response to 9/11. The Act was intended to make it more difficult for criminals to falsify identification cards. But many states, including Oklahoma, rejected the Act, after many citizens voiced concerns about government overreach, potential privacy violations and compliance costs.

Oklahoma lawmakers in 2017 voted to comply with the Act, but work to implement the change by state agencies has been slow to say the least. Partly because of this, Gov. Stitt recently made changes to leadership at the Department of Public Safety, as the Legislature granted him the ability to do in the last legislative session. He’s promised that we are now getting the right people and the right software in place to move more quickly towards compliance with REAL ID.

Gov. Stitt recently met with Department of Homeland Security executives in Washington, D.C. to assure them of the state’s progress. He said the state is expected to beta test our version of the ID in April and will be compliant by October 2020. If we’re granted an extension, I will let you know.

In the meantime, if I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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Welcome to a New School Year

By Rep. Mike Sanders

I want to welcome students, teachers, staff and administrators, both in our public and private schools, back to a new school year.

It’s an exciting and a perhaps a bit of a nervous time of year as young people anticipate entering new classrooms, with the challenge of learning new information and acquiring new skills. They no doubt will be happy to reconnect with old friends but will be making some new acquaintances as well. They’ll be getting to know new teachers and new routines. They might need a little extra grace and rest as they get back into the swing of things.

Parents likely will be breathing a happy sigh of relief that a long summer has come to an end. Before long, though, the school fundraisers, the sports schedules, the homework and the constant buzz of activity that surrounds the school year will help dull that feeling of euphoria. Be prepared.

This should be a great year for our students, teachers and administrators. Last year, the Legislature voted in the second pay raise in a row for our teachers. This is hoped to help curb the teacher shortage and encourage new recruits to this field. It’s proven that a highly qualified teacher is one of the top factors in student success. I certainly appreciate the great teachers we have in our House District, and I want to encourage others to consider this profession.

The Legislature also gave more money to the school funding formula this year to aid in the support of our classrooms and for other needs decided by our local school boards. And, we fully funding the Reading Sufficiency Act to help students who struggle with reading.

While teachers are certainly key to a child’s success, parents play an even greater role. Teaching your child to enjoy learning at home at an early age is of great importance. A love of learning can be fostered through keeping a good supply of age-appropriate books and learning games on hand; taking time to sit down with your child in the evening to talk about what they learned during the school day; ensuring they understand their homework and class assignments. Be available to your child if they have questions or concerns. Remember, what may seem like a small issue to you may seem very large your child’s mind. Having a parent reassure them goes a long way towards building a child’s confidence.

Please also take the time to get to know your child’s teachers and the administrators at your child’s school. Look over the books and materials your child will be using this school year. If you have concerns, first approach your child’s teacher.

Seek ways you can help in your child’s schools. Maybe they need a hand in the library or the lunchroom. Maybe they need some extra supplies in your child’s classroom. Stay involved in athletics, art, band or other activities in which your child is involved.

Keep an eye out for school zones and buses. Safety on our roadways is critical during the school year to keep our young lives safe.

Finally, have some fun. School can be one of the great joys in life. In addition to all that is learned, it can be a time of creating great memories. Have a blessed and safe school year.

If I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

 

 

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Capitol Restoration Update

By Rep. Mike Sanders

Anyone trying to visit the Capitol this summer has figured out lawmakers are temporarily displaced from their offices while construction crews work on the House side of the overall Capitol Reconstruction Project. For the interim, we are in offices at the State Department of Agriculture.

About 60 percent of the Capitol is under construction with more than 300 construction workers on site daily.

The top-to-bottom Capitol Restoration Project started in 2015 after the state Legislature voted and then-Gov. Mary Fallin signed into law measures to provide funding for the project. The projected budget for the restoration at this moment is $248.4 million. The Legislature authorized bonds totaling $245 million, but the premium on the bonds has been earning interest that can also be used on the project, and the last bond issue has not gone for bid yet, so the total could increase. The entire restoration is due for completion by 2022.

The Oklahoma Capitol is home to all three branches of state government and vast collections of priceless state art. In addition to lawmaking, the Capitol is used by many groups and individuals for events, meetings, even weddings. It is also one of the most visited sites in the state.

The structure was built between 1914 and 1917. After a century of heavy use, harsh Oklahoma weather and inconsistent maintenance and preservation efforts, the building’s mechanical systems were failing and its exterior façade was crumbling, so it was necessary to undertake restoration.

Oklahomans deserve a beautiful People’s House to visit, to showcase to out-of-state visitors and where the business of state government is conducted. That being said, it is important we ensure this work is done with the utmost efficiency and as cost-effectively as possible. I have worked diligently as a lawmaker to ensure this.

Crews have been working year-round at the Capitol to complete this project, but work slows during the legislative sessions when lawmakers, their staffs and many visitors fill the Capitol during the week. During the interims, crews increase the pace of their work and actually take over many of the spaces devoted to lawmakers, such as offices, the legislative chambers and the rotundas.

This interim, crews are working on the House – or the west side – of the Capitol, reconfiguring and updating offices, the House chamber and the rotundas on the first, second and fourth floors. Construction crews also are redoing the governor’s and the lieutenant governor’s office suites as well as some offices on the Senate side, the courtroom where the Supreme Court formerly heard cases, the treasurer’s office suite and the roof.

Crews are updating plumbing, adding air conditioning to the rotundas, repairing the east tunnel, removing asbestos and lead paint, and adding fire sprinklers throughout the building. They also are adding touchscreen monitors throughout the building to help visitors navigate through the building.

The Capitol visitor’s center in May was moved from the first floor on the south side of the Capitol to its permanent location on the ground floor on the east side. Eventually, a new visitors entrance will open on the southeast corner of the Capitol routing visitors into this new ground-floor area.

In early June, crews closed off the Capitol rotundas and erected scaffolding to begin the work of repairing and painting the historic plaster walls and ornamental features. Additionally, they are repairing and polishing the marble floors and marble wall bases in these areas. The second-floor rotunda will be completed and open in time for the opening day of the 2020 legislative session. The fourth-floor rotunda is scheduled to be complete in November 2020. The first-floor rotunda will be complete in December 2020.

Visitors to the Capitol this summer may be disappointed they aren’t getting to see the artwork or many of the features of the Peoples’ House, but they can at least view the construction through windows placed into the temporary construction walls.

This work has caused quite a bit of inconvenience to myself and other lawmakers as well as visitors this summer, but I’m trusting the finished product will be worth it.

I can’t wait until my office is done and you can once again visit me at the Capitol. Until then, if I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 ormike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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Flooding Disaster Funding Available

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders was notified today that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Oklahoma is offering special Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) funding for “Cover Crop” for landowners impacted by recent flooding.

Extensive rainfall in many Oklahoma river bottoms and their tributaries has caused unprecedented destruction in many areas of Oklahoma. Some of the key impacts to cropland resulting from the flooding include sand deposition and scouring. Cover Crop’s purpose is to reduce erosion, increase soil organic matter, capture and recycle nutrients in the soil profile, increase biodiversity, suppress weeds, manage soil moisture and minimize or reduce soil compaction.

The application deadline is July 12, 2019 for those affected in Blaine and Canadian counties.

“I wanted those affected by recent storms to know some of the relief and aid at their disposal,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “Our local emergency officials are of course assisting, but these federal resources may be of some help as well.”

The purpose of this initiative is to offer EQIP funding on Cropland only for “Cover Crop” establishment to landowners who have been and continue to be impacted by this natural disaster. Producers should consider the impact this might have on crop insurance eligibility. Farm Service Agency Prevented Planting guidelines must also be considered if applicable.

If you are in an eligible county and seeking more information about this “Cover Crop” program, please contact your local NRCS office for assistance. NRCS offices and staff are located and available in every county in Oklahoma.

Those in Blaine County should contact the Watonga Field Service Center, 221 E. Main, Watonga, OK 73772-3832; Telephone: 580-623-8501; FAX: 580-623-8503. Those in Canadian County should contact the El Reno Field Service Center, 1625 E. Hwy. 66, El Reno, OK 73036-5769; Telephone: 405-262-1958; FAX: 405-422-2066.

In addition to this latest news, Kingfisher county also was recently added to the list of counties approved for disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Canadian County was already on the list.

The designation makes available federal assistance for housing repairs or temporary housing, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) low-interest loans for individuals and businesses to repair or replace damaged property, disaster unemployment assistance, and grants for serious needs and necessary disaster expenses not met by other programs.

To apply for disaster assistance individuals and business owners may call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) or go online at www.disasterassistance.gov. FEMA will also have Disaster Survivor Assistance Teams on site in the declared counties listed above to help people register for FEMA aid.

Gov. Stitt said the state will continue to request additional counties be added to the Individual Assistance Major Disaster Declaration as damage assessments of impacted homes and businesses are completed.

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Woodward County Transportation Projects

By Rep. Mike Sanders

In my previous column, I gave an update of Oklahoma Department ofTransportation roads and bridges projects in Blaine and Dewey Counties. In this one, I detail projects in Woodward and Woodward County. This is an annual update I like to provide district residents so they know areas of road construction and also can see how their transportation dollars are spent.

The next section of U.S. Highway 270 has been awarded. It begins 10.5 miles southeast of State Highway 50 and extends 3.7 miles southeast. This is a grade, drain, bridge and surface project adding two new lanes and rehabilitating the existing lanes to accomplish a four-lane divided highway at a cost of approximately $12.3 million. Construction has just begun and is expected to be completed by fall of 2020.

The final section of U.S. 270 in Woodward County is scheduled to be let to bid in November. It begins approximately 14.7 miles southeast of State Highway 50 and extends 4.3 miles southeast to the Woodward / Dewey County line. This is a grade, drain, bridge and surface project adding two new lanes and rehabilitating the existing lanes to accomplish a four-lane divided highway at an estimated cost of $21.5 million.

Construction has begun to improve 34th Street in Woodward. This project is a grade, drain, bridge and surface project beginning at U.S. 412 extending south 2.07 miles. The project is estimated to take 365 days at a cost of approximately $8.6 million. This project is a joint venture between ODOT and the City of Woodward. Completion is anticipated by spring of 2020.

Construction also has begun on State Highway 15 located 6.4 miles east of the State Highway 46 Junction and extending 4.4 miles northeast. This project is a widen, resurface, and bridge that overlaps both Ellis and Woodward County to include the town of Fargo. The cost of the project is approximately $7.5 million and is expected to be complete by the spring of 2020. 

The bridge construction is completed on State Highway 34 over the North Canadian River, located 1.2 miles north of U.S. 183. The cost of the project is approximately $705,000.

Also completed on State Highway 34 is a project that included the bridge and approach over Indian Creek approximately 2.3 miles south of U.S. 270 at an approximate cost of $2.1 million.

A third completed project on State Highway 34 consists of two bridges and approaches over north and south Persimmon Creek located 4.9 miles and 7.6 miles north of the Dewey County line is complete as well. The combined cost of these two bridges was approximately $5.7 million.

ODOT currently is planning a bridge rehabilitation project on U.S. 270 over the Unnamed Creek in the town of Woodward. The bridge is 0.4 miles east of the State Highway 15 and U.S. 183 junction. This project will consist of replacing the bridge deck on both the east and west bound lanes. This will require a crossover where traffic will be moved to both the east and west bound lanes while the deck is being replaced. This project is currently planned for 2021.

If I can help you in any way, I can be reached at (405) 557-7407 or mike.sanders@okhouse.gov.

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