Wednesday, November 18, 2020

ODOT Engineer Gives Updates on Area Road Projects

Chris Wallace, District 1 ODOT Engineer

The Sallisaw Chamber of Commerce announced new board members Wednesday at their regular monthly meeting and heard from guest speaker District 1 engineer Chris Wallace with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Chamber President Jaime Henson said the new members, Amy Edwards, Dustin Walters, Glenda Callahan and Justin Pettit will bring a new vitality to the group.

ODOT Engineer Chris Wallace gave the group an overview of the function of ODOT and touched on some area projects.

Wallace stated that the ongoing I-40 project east of Sallisaw is expected to wrap up by Christmas. This area has been riddled with traffic accidents and the completion will improve travel. 

Wallace said the I-40 project replaced three bridges that had been flagged as substandard. The state originally had roughly 1,000 substandard bridges when ODOT began their bridge initiative. They currenty have fewer than 100.

Engineers with ODOT are continuing to look at ways to improve heavy traffic flow just south of the I-40 and Highway 59 south interchange. Wallace presented a video presentation of a roundabout that is being considered to solve the problem. ODOT will hold public meetings and meet with city officials before making a decision. Upcoming construction of the new VA Center on Highway 59 south will also increase the need for a traffic solution in this area.

Other projects mentioned include replacing the I-40 bridge over Big Sallisaw Creek west of Sallisaw. ODOT is also planning maintenance projects along Highway 64 between Sallisaw and Muldrow. The widening of Highway 59 north has been delayed until 2023 due to state budget cuts.

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