Note: This is the second column in a three-part series on road and bridge infrastructure. The third column will be sent next week..
By State Rep. Mike Sanders
The investment in roads and bridges in Oklahoma since 2005 has led to a lot of improvements in my legislative district, House District 59. Recently, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation released its newest eight-year plan. Although it is a large and complex plan, I want to give you a sample of the projects and investment planned for the district.
The plan includes more than $50 million of infrastructure investment in Kingfisher County alone. In fact, a project has just begun along State Highway 33. It is scheduled to last 280 calendar days and will encompass a little over a half mile. The project description is to grade, drain, surface and bridge the highway starting from a half mile east of US-81 and continuing east over Uncle John’s Overflow and an unnamed creek.
A $500,000 resurfacing project is scheduled along a 9.8-mile section of US-81 that runs between Kingfisher and Okarche. A $1.2 million resurfacing project along 9 miles of State Highway 3 is scheduled for 2015. Further along in the plan are two bridge projects on US-81. The first bridge is over Kingfisher Creek, just north of State Highway 33. The second bridge project includes both northbound and southbound bridges over the Union Pacific Railroad. The two projects will cost just under $10 million.
An $11.2 million future project is scheduled for State Highway 51, from US-81 just east of Hennessey for 7.53 miles that will add shoulders to that stretch of highway.
More than $100 million will be spent on investments in other parts of my district.
In Canadian County, the state will invest $1.8 million in a bridge rehabilitation project where US-81 meets Northwest Expressway. Another project is an interchange at the junction of I-40 and Frisco Road that will cost $16 million.
In Dewey County, a $6.7 million bridge project is scheduled along US-183 over the South Canadian River north of Taloga in 2016. Farther out are two projects along US-270 – both just south of State Highway 51, at a combined price of $23.5 million.
In Blaine County, there are two projects scheduled to widen and resurface State Highway 3 just east of the US-270 junction in Watonga, at a combined cost of more than $14 million. A $2.2 million bridge and approaches project is scheduled over an unnamed creek located 10.8 miles east of the US-270 junction in Watonga.
In Woodward County, an $11.5 million project will take place along US-183/US-270, southeast of the junction with State Highway 50. A $6.2 million surfacing project begins where the first project ends. A $7.4 million bridge project is scheduled over the North Canadian River and overflow, less than a mile north of the junction with State Highway 15.
All of these projects and future projects are good signs for Oklahoma transportation needs. These particular projects have been neglected for too long and we are finally getting to work on them. These projects will enhance economic prosperity but more importantly will enhance public safety on these roads and bridges.
I will continue to discuss road and bridge infrastructure in my next column. I will include more discussion of the cost of proper road and bridge maintenance and how it affects the overall Oklahoma state budget.