Much like spring flowers, pavement resurfacing projects are about to bloom statewide thanks to more than $116 million worth of pavement contracts awarded by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission since November.
The 50 pavement projects awarded to date cover every corner of the state and aim to improve drivability by resurfacing the cracks, bumps and intermittent patches on some of the most traveled highways. These projects also include resurfacing programs in local communities where federal funds will be matched with local resources.
ODOT wants motorists to start preparing now for an increase in highway work zones this spring through fall. Paying attention and slowing down in work zones are key to preventing more loss of life, after 17 deaths in Oklahoma work zones in 2016. The majority of work zone deaths are motorists and the department is highlighting work zone safety with a month-long campaign this year titled Your Life Matters: Drive Like It. While April 3-7 is National Work Zone Awareness Week, Oklahoma campaign events begin April 10 with the department asking Oklahomans to wear orange that day in support of highway workers. To learn more about the campaign, see http://www.ok.gov/odot/WorkZoneAwareness.html
While this year’s resurfacing contracts will extend pavement life by up to 10 years in many locations, maintenance needs remain critical on Oklahoma’s 30,000 lane miles,” Terri Angier, ODOT spokeswoman, said. “The department recognizes that much work remains to be done after addressing structurally deficient bridges since 2004. Pavement conditions have been waiting for funding and remain a top priority.”
In the past decade, the number of structurally deficient bridges went from 1,168 to 270 remaining structurally deficient bridges as of 2016. The department anticipates having the majority of state bridges on the structurally deficient list scheduled for construction by 2020, freeing up funding to address pavement conditions statewide.
“We want motorists to be prepared for these work zones statewide and to know that the department is doing all that it can to maintain and preserve pavement conditions even in tight budget years,” Angier said. “Maintenance needs will continue to accrue, but these projects will go a long way toward improving drivability statewide.”