Press Release

August 13, 2020

OKLAHOMA REACHES TOP TEN STATUS IN BRIDGE CONDITIONS

9th

State ranks ninth in latest Federal Highway Administration rankings  

OKLAHOMA CITY (August 13, 2020) – Governor Kevin Stitt and Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz today announced Oklahoma has achieved Top Ten status in bridge conditions for the first time by ranking ninth according the latest data from the Federal Highway Administration. 

For years, Oklahoma was ranked near the bottom in national bridge conditions, including as low as 49th in 2004, due to the number of structurally deficient bridges on the state highway system.  

“Top Ten isn’t just a slogan -- it is the vision that helps form and guide our road map to improving state government and changing the future of all 4 million Oklahomans for the better,” said Gov. Stitt. “Transportation is the backbone of the economy, and this designation shows Oklahoma is a new national leader in highway bridge infrastructure thanks to the dedication of ODOT employees and an unprecedented investment in our bridges by the Legislature.” 

ODOT embarked on a massive effort in 2005 to improve highway bridges after decades of underfunding to transportation infrastructure took a toll, causing a backlog of critically needed projects. A targeted approach to fixing bridges began taking shape through a series of legislative funding mechanisms and identifying key funding opportunities by the congressional delegation.  

“This overhaul on our highway bridges took more than 15 years and has only been possible thanks to the consistent vision and support of our governors, legislators and congressional delegates,” said Sec. Gatz. “We also have to thank Oklahomans for making transportation a priority, as this issue rose to the top of state needs due to significant citizen support. This unprecedented program was only possible with a united focus on Oklahoma’s future.” 

Bridges in Oklahoma – Key Facts 

  • Value of highway system in Oklahoma is $60 billion, making it Oklahoma’s No. 1 physical asset. 
  • In 2004, nearly 1,200 of Oklahoma’s 6,800 highway bridges were considered structurally deficient, meaning they showed signs of needing major rehabilitation or replacement.   
  • This momentum took an even more aggressive approach in 2011, when the “Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan” was announced. One of its goals was to specifically reduce the structurally deficient highway bridges to 1 percent and have a manageable bridge system by the end of the decade. 
  • Today, 86 highway bridges are now considered as structurally deficient, based on bridge inspection data submitted to the FHWA by states for its 2019 report. Each of those remaining bridges is already scheduled for improvements through ODOT’s Eight-Year Construction Plan. 
  • Off-system bridges on city streets or county roads are separately maintained by local governments, which account for an additional 16,000 structures statewide that have their own critical needs and funding challenges.  
  • National studies often combine the highway and off-system bridges into one lump overview, but it’s important to note this new ranking is for the highway system.  

ODOT will diligently look for ways to continue to address older bridges through consistent planning and preservation efforts to ensure that Oklahoma maintains its Top Ten bridge condition status, Gatz said.  

More information about upcoming bridge and pavement projects may be found online at www.odot.org.  

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