Northwest Expressway resurfacing project expected to start in June
One of Oklahoma City's most congested thoroughfares will undergo a resurfacing project this summer, with crews looking to do most of the work at night in an effort to have minimal impact on heavy commute times.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Monday awarded a $6 million project to resurface nearly 7 miles of Northwest Expressway from State Highway 74 northwest to the John Kilpatrick Turnpike.
Work is expected to begin in June and take about four months to complete.
The Northwest Expressway, also called State Highway 3, is one of Oklahoma City's busiest non-interstate highways, carrying about 54,000 vehicles a day, officials said.
Plans are for the roadwork to be done at night, one lane and one mile at a time, to minimize traffic disruption and access problems for businesses that line the corridor, said Trenton January, assistant director of engineering for Division 4 of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
If everything goes according to the plan, the highway will be fully open for rush hour traffic each day, January said.
Traffic signals will be upgraded to LED signal lights as part of the project.
Haskell Lemon Construction Co. of Oklahoma City was awarded the job with a low bid of $6,076,769.
The city of Oklahoma City will take over responsibility for maintaining the highway once the resurfacing project is complete.
In other action:
• Executive Director Tim Gatz announced he had awarded a $297,500 emergency contract to repair the Interstate 40 bridge over U.S. Highway 81 in Canadian County. During a routine bridge inspection, officials discovered the bridge had been damaged by excessive pavement pressure. Work is scheduled to begin May 13 and take up to a week to complete.
• Gatz told commissioners careful study will be required before department employees will recommend whether to raise the speed limit on any rural areas of the state's interstate system to 75 miles per hour, as permitted by recent legislation. Gatz said studies have shown the frequency and severity of accidents have increased in states that have raised speed limits, but he is hopeful that driver assist technology may make higher speed limits safer in time.
• The commission approved new grooved pavement striping on sections of I-44, I-40, I-235 and State Highway 74/Lake Hefner Parkway in the metro area. The new striping technique provides better visibility at night and during rainy weather, officials said. It costs more initially, but lasts longer and stands up better to scraping from snow plows.
Monday was a day of transition for the Oklahoma Transportation Commission, with six of the nine commissioners attending their first meeting.
Brand new to the commission were V. Gene McKown of Norman, Bob Coburn of Muskogee, James Grimsley of Calera, Don Freymiller of Edmond, David Dyson of Elk City, and Steve J. LaForge of Chickasha.
Former House Speaker T.W. Shannon of south Oklahoma City is almost as new to the commission. Monday was just his second meeting.
The two other commissioners, Bobby J. Alexander of Woodward and Bob Peterson of Tulsa, were first appointed to the commission by former Gov. Mary Fallin and then reappointed by Gov. Kevin Stitt.
Commissioners voted to name McKown chairman, Peterson vice chairman and Shannon secretary.
McKown is co-owner and president of development for Ideal Homes.
Significant promotions were announced for two female employees of the department. Director of Capital Programs Dawn Sullivan will succeed Russell Hulin as deputy director once Hulin retires at the end of June and Shelly Williams was named local government division engineer after having worked for the agency in a number of capacities.