Roads

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.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A portion of the Gilcrease Expressway is now designated the Don Ross Expressway.

The 2.2-mile stretch honoring the civil rights leader and former state lawmaker is between Lewis Avenue and L.L. Tisdale Parkway.

Ross served in the Oklahoma House from 1983 to 2003. In the early 2000s, Ross helped secure $32 million in funding to build the Gilcrease Expressway. One of his sons, Ed Ross, told his father at a dedication on Wednesday that was just a small part of what he accomplished for his constituents.

Some segments of Oklahoma highways are getting renumbered.

The state transportation commission approved a slate of them last week, including a new State Highway 375 designation that includes the Indian Nations Turnpike and creation of I-240, a loop around the Oklahoma City metro that spans I-40 and the Kickapoo and Kilpatrick Turnpikes.

Transportation Secretary Tom Gatz said the changes will help drivers and any devices they use with navigation, especially with the OKC metro loop.

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The state's top transportation official said the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is already making progress on recommendations a legislative watchdog made last month.

Tulsa Police Twitter

Federal traffic consultants have been working with INCOG on a local road safety plan, and their review of crash data has revealed some areas of focus for the region.

"We are coming up higher on alcohol-involved crashes in our five-county region compared to the rest of the area. We are coming up as very high for bicycle- and pedestrian-related crashes as well," said INCOG Transportation Planning Director Viplav Putta.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has received $154 million from the federal coronavirus relief package passed in December.

State Secretary of Transportation and ODOT Executive Director Tim Gatz plans to put a portion of that into the agency’s asset preservation fund. He said the timing of a cash infusion for road repairs couldn’t be better.

"I can’t emphasize enough the impact that two weeks of subfreezing weather conditions are going to have on our pavement structures for the springtime," Gatz told the Oklahoma Transportation Commission last week.

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Sixteen years after being in 49th place for bridge conditions in the country, Oklahoma now ranks ninth.

At last count, 86 bridges on the state highway system — 1.3% — were considered structurally deficient. That’s down from almost 20% in 2004, thanks to 15 years of dedicated state funding and chasing federal grants to fix the problem.

Tulsa County on Twitter

Tulsa County Engineer Alex Mills said on Monday that the slate of major road projects planned for summer will almost certainly be reduced as a result of the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Diesel tax, gasoline tax, gross production tax — that is the bulk of our funding," Mills said. "The numbers from March showed a pretty significant drop."

Mills said that the numbers for April are likely to be even more significant.

Late one night in 2011, a large animal collided with an SUV on a Connecticut parkway. This animal was not a deer -- as is, sadly, so often the case. It was a 140-pound mountain lion...and it had been born in the Black Hills of South Dakota...in 2009!

On this edition of ST, we cover some interesting and less-familiar Tulsa history by way of a new biography of Cy Avery. Our guest is the Missouri-based author Susan Croce Kelly, author of "Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery," which is just out from OU Press. Kelly will be speaking about and signing copies of this book on Saturday the 27th at the Tulsa Historical Society; the event is free to the public and begins at 10:30am.

State roads and bridges rebuild bill clears House

Mar 6, 2012
KWGS News Photo

State lawmakers voted today to dramatically reduce the backlog of bridges needing repair or replacement in Oklahoma. “Although we have made significant progress addressing transportation needs in recent years, there is still much work to be done,” said state Rep. T.W. Shannon, a Lawton Republican who chairs the House Transportation Committee. “This legislation ramps up those efforts and keeps state resources focused on a true core function of government: transportation infrastructure.