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Transportation commission approves ODOT's updated, $7.7B 8-year work plan

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

A state commission gave the green light on Monday to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s new $7.7 billion, eight-year construction plan.

The plan is updated annually, and the new one covering through federal fiscal year 2029 covers about 300 more projects and $1.6 billion more than the previous version.

The work plan represents a nearly 50-50 split of state and federal funding for work through federal fiscal year 2029. State Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz said he’s confident Congress will pass a federal highway funding bill soon, despite disagreement on a broader infrastructure package.

"I feel like the federal funding projections we have utilized are certainly in line with what would be expected in our long-term reauthorization, but that's where it all begins. Setting those funding projections is first and foremost as we begin to consider the critical needs across the state," Gatz said.

Some of the critical needs in the new eight-year plan include repairs for almost 700 bridges and safety improvements on about 1,000 miles of rural, two-lane roads.

"Those are the types of highways that we have our most severe and highest fatality rates on, and something as simple as putting a safety shoulder on those highways can prevent some of those accidents from happening," Gatz said.

Transportation Commissioner James Grimsley said he’s a big supporter of the work plans, which have been around since 2003.

"My district borders north Texas, and that continued growth is spilling over and it's starting to have an impact on our road systems. You know, our traffic continually increases. And so, I don't see any other way that we're going to be able to address that unless we do it systematically," Grimsley said.

The new work plan has Tulsa County in line for several big projects in federal fiscal year 29, including resurfacing on U.S. 75 and State Highway 11.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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