By Jeff Harrison
A major road project on Interstate 40 in Mid-Del is expected to begin in spring 2020 according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The $64.4 million project includes rebuilding bridges over Crutcho Creek, SE 15th Street and Sooner Road. Work is expected to take about 2 ½ years to complete.
The project will be funded during the federal government’s fiscal year 2019-20, which begins in October. ODOT plans to open bidding for the project in February, and award a contract in March.
The winning contract has 60 days to begin the project, but it could start earlier than that.
“We will be putting a flexible start date on the project so the contractor could start more quickly,” said Lisa Shearer-Salim, ODOT public information manager. “They could start in April if it all lines up accordingly. We are interested in seeing this project move forward.”
The I-40 bridges have been on ODOT’s radar for years. Plans to rebuild the aging bridges have been postponed several times over the years, leading to mounting repairs. Crews have made 24 emergency repairs to bridges since 2015, including 10 since June 2018. Those repairs have cost about $350,000 since 2015.
The most common issue is deterioration of the bridge deck. Crews are often called to repair holes in the bridge deck.
Crews recently completed a massive utility relocation project in advance of the roadwork. A total of 20 utility lines were relocated along the three bridges. They included public and private lines for sewer, water, electric, oil, natural gas, diesel fuel and telecommunications.
Shearer-Salim said they are making final changes to the design before the project will be put out for bid. The design is expected to be finalized in November.
The projects were added to ODOT’s eight-year-construction plan years ago, but they have been delayed several times.
ODOT officials say increased traffic, especially from heavy trucks, has caused the bridges to wear. The bridges were built in the 1960s with an expected lifespan of 60-70 years. About 35,000 to 45,000 motorist travel along the section of I-40 daily.