Oklahoma City— Members of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved engineering contracts on load-posted bridges in 14 counties across the state earlier this week. Commissioners agreed to spend $4.4 million in federal funding for contracts with 10 firms to design 24 bridges. Engineering firms will conduct location analysis, surveys, hydraulic studies, and prepare final construction plans for the bridges and adjoining highways. Construction is expected to start on each bridge within the next four years.
The 137 load-posted bridges in the program are structurally deficient and obsolete. Many vehicles have been forced to use detours that often take them far off their original routes, adversely affecting commerce throughout the state.
In 2006, the Oklahoma Legislature approved $100 million in a one-time state appropriation for replacing these bridges. In July, the commission approved the first phase of engineering contracts as part of the program with projects on 52 bridges in 30 counties. Currently, 39 load-posted bridges across the state have been repaired, replaced or are under construction. Completion of the 137-bridge project is expected within six years.