The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is recalculating its eight year plan.
Director Mike Patterson says this comes after the legislature removed $150 million from the program which keeps work going on Oklahoma’s roads and bridges.
“Last year we had to reduce the eight-year plan by $323 million,” Patterson says. “These are cumulative numbers, and so, if you look over the last six to eight years, the impact has been $800 million.”
ODOT ran the risk of losing $250 million with just a week left before the end of the legislative session, but lawmakers reduced it to $150 million.
Patterson says fortunately the agency won’t have to suspend any current projects, but rather extend the eight-year plan by one year.
Patterson says as a result some of the projects will be extended by one year.
“We’re not going to take any projects out,” he says. “We’ll just slide projects into 2025.”
Lawmakers also took another $50 million dollars from funds used to improve county roads and bridges.
Oklahoma City’s I-235 at I-44 reopened Tuesday morning, earlier than expected.
Patterson says drivers still need to be aware it is a construction zone and need to be careful.
“At some point those lanes are even going to get skinnier,” he says. “They’re going to get tighter, so we need people to get off their cell phones, go ten and two on the steering wheel, like I like to say, and pay attention to what’s going on. It’s going to be changing rapidly.”
Patterson says the total project to complete the interchange of I-235 and I-44 will be finished in 2024.
He says because of the ongoing construction, more closings can be expected in the coming years.