Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission OKs Final Road-Grading Contract for I-40 Crosstown Project

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Commission OKs Final Road-Grading Contract for I-40 Crosstown Project

Article excerpt

OKLAHOMA CITY - The final $22.5 million road-grading contract for the $644 million Interstate 40 Crosstown project received the go- ahead from the Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Monday, during a meeting that also featured Director Gary Ridley's outline of how his agency is handling monthly reductions in its budget.

The commission voted to award the last dirt-work project on I-40 to a joint venture of three highway and bridge construction companies. It is expected to last about one year and focus on the area just south of Reno Avenue at Pennsylvania Avenue, including a new bridge. The project will also complete ODOT's rail work along the highway corridor.

John Bowman, project development engineer for the I-40 project, said completion of the project will mean that paving of the realigned Crosstown can begin, with the new highway expected to be open to traffic sometime in 2012.

Bowman said paving work will probably begin in late 2010.

Approved Tulsa projects include a $65 million project at Interstate 44 and Harvard, to replace a bridge and increase the highway to six lanes, and a $21 million project to widen U.S. Highway 169 from Interstate 244 to north of 46th Street.

Commissioners who oversee the Oklahoma Department of Transportation also agreed to negotiate with the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to share Ridley as director, at an increased salary to be shared by the two highway agencies.

Plans call for Ridley, who also serves as transportation secretary, to be paid about $133,200, which will be an increase from his current salary of $117,500. At the OTA, Ridley succeeds Director Phil Tomlinson.

Ridley said the arrangement will be a cost savings for both agencies.

The same person has headed up the state highway and turnpike agencies at least once previously, when Neal McCaleb was director of both entities in 1999.

Ridley also said that Congress' recent decision to pass another continuing resolution for highway funding is adding to the agency's difficulty in obtaining money from the highway trust fund. …

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