Canadian County projects survive ODOT cuts

Canadian County highway projects have survived cuts in the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s 8-year plan, though some have been moved back.

The state transportation department announced last week that had adjusted its 8-year improvement plan because of budget cuts that have occurred since 2010.

The 8-year plan involves projects between fiscal year 2018 and 2025.

Because the fiscally constrained plan must be balanced with anticipated both state and federal funding, the department was forced to delay a number of projects and removed several as well, ODOT said in a news release.

Officials have said there has been a cumulative state funding loss of $840 million since 2010.

“It was very challenging and frustrating to rebalance the eight-year plan while keeping our commitment on structurally deficient bridges and trying to address pavement conditions and urban highway congestion,” Executive Director Mike Patterson said.

“The cumulative state funding reductions since 2010 have produced a snowball effect where projects have been pushed back later and later, and now they’re being pushed out of the plan, which changes our strategy and moves us in the wrong direction,” Patterson said.

Canadian County did not lose any projects; however, several were moved back at least a year.

Among those is the replacement of the Interstate-40 Business/U.S. 81 bridge over the Union Pacific railroad tracks in El Reno. The $7.6 million project was originally in the plan for 2018, but has been moved to 2019.

Also pushed by two years is the construction of a spur bridge at US 281 and I-40 about 4 miles from the Caddo County line. The project was moved from 2021 to 2023, and is expected to cost $4 million.

A project to replace shoulders and resurface State Highway 152 from US 81 in Union City to Cemetery Road in Mustang has been pushed to 2023. The project has an estimated cost of $19 million.

A project to upgrade the grade, drainage and surface around the South Canadian River that had been planned for 2024 is now set for 2025. The $2 million project is at the Caddo County line.

While those projects did get moved, several major projects were unaffected, including the replacement of three bridges north of Yukon on SH-4.

According to the plan, the bridges will be replaced with a single bridge near Wilshire. The project is expected to cost $13 million and is in partnership with the City of Yukon and has a target date of 2019.

Also unchanged is the Frisco Road interchange. The project is set for 2020 and is expected to cost about $17.4 million. The interchange will provide access to Frisco Road from Interstate 40. That project has prompted the city of Yukon to plan improvements and realignments of Vandament and Frisco roads.

Two bridges at U.S. 270 east of Blaine County are expected to be replaced in 2022. One project is budgeted at $735,420; the other is expected to cost $1.05 million.

Two major improvement projects for SH 4 are planned in 2022. The ODOT plan calls for the highway to be widened to five lanes between SH 66 and SH 3.

The highway is seen as one of the more dangerous roads in Canadian County and has drawn frequent complaints. The project could help eliminate those concerns. It is expected to cost $19 million in total.

In 2023, the plan calls for modifications to the intersection of SH 66 and US 81 in El Reno at a cost of $2 million.

The final project is the replacement of a bridge and approaches at I-40 and Country Club Road in El Reno. It would also widen the road to five lanes. The cost of the project is estimated at $4 million.

Lisa Salim, a spokesperson for the department, said the 8-year plan is always subject to change.

“The department does rebalance the plan annually, so the items in later years still have the potential to move,” she wrote in an email.

Patterson said project delays cost Oklahomans because of increased maintenance necessary to preserve highways and bridges, and high construction costs.

The plan’s top priority, he said, is to replace or rehabilitate the state’s structurally deficient highway bridges by the end of the decade. However, it falls short on other major needs including improving pavement condition, adding shoulders to two-lane highways and addressing growing urban congestion, Patterson said.

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