ODOT's Division 6 hosts public meeting

The citizens of Oklahoma , along with state lawmakers, took unprecedented steps toward improving our highway system this year. Thanks to your support, our transportation infrastructure is finally a priority, with the funding to prove it. Now, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation invites all citizens to provide input as we begin to repair or replace load-posted bridges that have impeded safety and commerce across the state.

ODOT is holding public meetings across Oklahoma this month to discuss improving the outdated bridges. A meeting for your area is scheduled for:

Thursday, October 5

6 p.m. - 8 p.m.

ODOT Division 6 Office, US-64 West in Buffalo .

 Division 6 counties are: Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron , Ellis, Harper, Major, Texas , Woods, Woodward counties.

The public is urged to attend the meeting and provide input that will help ODOT with preliminary engineering and design.

These meetings are held to let the public know about the load-posted bridge program, and to allow ODOT to gather comments from residents who will be affected by the proposed construction. Also, it will put ODOT in contact with landowners who may be asked to allow crews onto their property for surveying, geotechnical testing and other engineering and design tasks.

The information gathered will be evaluated and used in scheduling of road closures, detours and designing of each project.

The open-house-style meetings began Sept. 12 in Muskogee . ODOT representatives are traveling to each of the department's eight division offices to conduct the meetings, which wrap up on Oct. 12.

ODOT is moving quickly to begin rehabilitating or replacing the state's 137 load-posted bridges. In most cases, load-posted bridges are deemed structurally deficient, functionally obsolete, and it is illegal for some vehicles to use them. Fully loaded tractor trailers cannot cross a load-posted bridge and, in many cases, loaded school buses cannot cross them, either. Trucks and buses have been forced to use detours that often take them far off their original routes.

Many of these bridges have been load posted for several years, but ODOT's historical lack of funding made replacing them a long, slow process.

That changed when the Oklahoma Legislature passed SB1288 in March, giving ODOT $100 million to begin repairing load-posted bridges.

ODOT has set an ambitious goal of replacing all 137 load-posted bridges within the next six years. Additional funding will come from ODOT's budget of state and federal funds. For a map showing load-posted bridges in the program, visit ODOT's Web site: http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/meetings/lpbp/

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