Oklahoma DOT Makes Progress in Addressing Structurally Deficient Bridges

AASHTO Journal, 3 August 2012

Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced last week it has removed more than 70 bridges from its list of structurally deficient state highway bridges in the past year, getting closer to its goal of becoming the state with the best bridges.

“There is a tremendous momentum underway in repairing or replacing these bridges and watching those numbers shrink each year,” said ODOT Secretary Gary Ridley in a statement. “We are fully committed to continuing these efforts and reaching our goal to make our state one of the top in the country for having a safer, modern bridge system.”

ODOT successfully reduced the number of deficient bridges identified in 2010 from 706 to 634, which amounts to roughly nine percent of the of the 6,800 state highway bridges that ODOT maintains. This is a huge improvement over the last few years, as Oklahoma topped the nation-wide list for the number of deficient bridges in 2004 with 1,200 bridges (or 17 percent of the bridges maintained by ODOT).

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin instituted the Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan last October, which requires ODOT to program all current structurally deficient bridges into its eight-year Construction Work Plan and for the state legislature to boost funding to the ROADS program with current state revenues and no new taxes. Her goal is to eliminate the backlog of these deficient bridges by 2019.

“This reduction shows Oklahoma’s investment in our highways is steadily improving our bridges and allowing us to eliminate a critical backlog of projects,” Fallin said in a statement. “Oklahomans should be proud of this continuing progress on our transportation infrastructure which provides a reliable travel network for our citizens and businesses.”

More information on Oklahoma’s plan to tackle deficient bridges is available at bit.ly/OKbridges.

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