by Brad Boles (R-51 Marlow)
Every interim, I enjoy traveling House District 51 and speaking with constituents about issues they’re concerned about. Time and time again, I hear concerns about the quality of our roads and bridges.
In the early 2000’s, Oklahoma ranked among the states with the most structurally deficient bridges. At the time, 17% of our state’s 6,800 bridges were in bad shape. After realizing the need to improve our infrastructure, the Legislature increased funds to ODOT by adapting a more reliable funding formula.
As a result of this investment, ODOT has dramatically reduced the number of structurally deficient bridges from 1,168 in 2004 down to only 68 by the end of 2019. This means less than 1% of our bridges are now considered structurally deficient, a huge improvement from our 17% two decades ago! This moved Oklahoma from 49th place in the nation for highway bridge conditions to 9th place earlier this year.
The state will continue its investment in our infrastructure to keep up with aging systems that doesn’t meet the needs of modern traffic. While ODOT has a program to continue addressing our remaining structurally deficient bridges, more resources are being allocated to repair other travel needs, including two-lane highways with deficient shoulders, sharp curves and steep hills.
The Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation is working to repair roads and bridges across the state, and they recently announced the upcoming updates coming to our district that I want to share with you.
Grady County update:
• Grady Co. US-81: Cable barrier is being installed along this highway as part of multiple projects from the Stephens County line extending north to the intersection of SH-19 East. These projects will total nearly $4.3 million. 2 of the 3 projects are completed. The middle project from Rush Springs north 7.3 miles is still under construction.
• Grady Co. SH-19: Right-of-way acquisition for property along this route beginning approximately 5 miles east of US-81 extending east for a little over 8 miles to the Roaring Creek bridge. Right-of-way purchases are on-going. Utility relocations will begin in 2021 to accommodate reconstruction projects scheduled in 2023 and 2025)
• Grady Co. US-62: Twin bridges to be reconstructed over the Washita River, just east of Chickasha is scheduled at a cost of nearly $13.2 million.
• Grady Co. SH-19: A 4.2 mile section of this highway is scheduled for reconstruction from Roaring Creek Bridge, through Bradley, ending at the Washita River bridge at a cost of $14.1 million.
• Grady Co. US-277: A 2.7 mile section of this highway is scheduled for reconstruction from Middle Bills Creek Bridge east to the I-44 overpass at a cost of $10.2 million.
• Grady Co. US-277: Construct new bridge over Smith Creek, 2.7 miles west of US-81costing $3.16 million.
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