Officials of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is working on plans to widen portions of I-35 from the Red River to Oklahoma City.
ODOT chief engineer Brian Taylor told the Transportation Commission on Monday that Texas is preparing to spend $2.5 billion to bring the north-south corridor to six lanes from four and eventually to eight lanes in the northern part of that state within the next 15 years.
The area will be from where I-35 East and I-35 West meet in Denton, Texas, north to the Red River, Taylor said.
Meanwhile, ODOT has $491.5 million in its eight-year plan to make improvements. Currently, there are $3 billion worth of needs along the corridor in Oklahoma.
The current funding addresses 35 miles of the 126 miles.
“At the current investment level, it would take almost 50 years to address the entire corridor,” Taylor said. “To overcome operational and capacity deficiencies in a timely manner, an all the above approach will be required, including grants, loans, bonds and partnerships.”
A few months ago ODOT set up a committee to study the corridor and its needs at the urging of transportation commissioner T.W. Shannon.
“This committee is charged with evaluating and determining a path forward for Oklahoma starting with an evaluation of Interstate 35 through identifying what we have and what our needs are,” Taylor said.
In Oklahoma, the areas of greatest need are from Purcell north to Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City and from the Red River north to the Ardmore airpark.
Shannon said that with the investment Texas is making, one can imagine what the additional traffic will do to the already congested area in southern Oklahoma.
I-35 is one of two major north-south roadways west of the Mississippi River and has state, national and international significance. In order to complete the plans to widen it, a blend of state and federal funding will be required.
Source: Tulsa World