Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz this week presented ACCESS Oklahoma—a $5 billion, 15-year long-range plan—to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA).
ACCESS Oklahoma, which stands for Advancing and Connecting Communities and Economies Safely Statewide, is a long-range planning process that looks at ongoing highway infrastructure needs for the next 15 years.
OTA says the plan is designed to improve access to communities and help meet the state’s future infrastructure needs. This is the first plan of its type by OTA, and it will complement the agency’s five-year Capital Improvement Program.
“ACCESS Oklahoma is a strategic corridor plan that focuses on travel-time reliability, easing congestion in our metro areas, moving freight across the state, and adding access to communities that previously were not connected to turnpikes,” Gatz said in a statement. “Addressing these needs will directly impact citizens’ quality of life while enhancing the state’s infrastructure for future growth. But most importantly, each of these projects will improve highway safety for motorists.”
Features of ACCESS Oklahoma include:
- Widening the Turner Turnpike to six lanes between Oklahoma City and Bristow, which will create a six-lane highway for the entirety of the turnpike between the state’s two largest metros.
- The construction of reliever routes around Oklahoma’s two largest metropolitan areas.
- Off- and on-ramps constructed on the existing turnpike system to improve traffic safety for additional rural Oklahoma communities.
OTA says ACCESS Oklahoma will be fully paid for with bonds and will not affect any part of the state budgeting process. Revenues from tolls, investments, and concession leases pay all operating and maintenance costs for the turnpikes and pay off the bonds issued to finance their construction, the Turnpike says.
SOURCE: Oklahoma Turnpike Authority