By 2020, Oklahoma’s structurally deficient bridge list will be spotless.
That is the hope, anyway, following the approval of a $5.5 billion eight-year plan which will address the 634 spans in dire need of repair. About 55% of the necessary funding will come from the federal level, with the rest being filled in by the state.
“After decades of bridge problems, Oklahomans will finally have a safe and reliable bridge network that meets the needs of our growing state, and one for which we can all be proud,” declared Oklahoma Transportation Department Director Gary Ridley.
Not too long ago, Oklahoma’s funding pocket for addressing its aging bridges was rather shallow. The number of structurally deficient structures reached a high of 1,168 in 2004.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation also has a four-year maintenance plan, and a chunk of the $460 million devoted to it will be aimed at aging bridges.
“We put all of this money into hard assets—into concrete, steel and asphalt and dirt,” Ridley said. “We don’t hire a lot of new employees. What we do is put it in projects.”