Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley, who has worked with the state's network of roads and bridges for more than 50 years, is retiring.

Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday that the retirement of 71-year-old Ridley is effective immediately. He has served as secretary of transportation since 2009.

Ridley began working for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in 1965 as an equipment operator. He rose through the ranks of the department and was named director in 2001. He retired as director in 2013.

Ridley was appointed transportation secretary by then-Gov. Brad Henry in 2009. Fallin reappointed Ridley to the post after she took office in 2011.

Fallin says she has named O-DOT executive director Mike Patterson to succeed Ridley as transportation secretary, pending confirmation by the state Senate.

Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, commented on Ridley's retirement:

In western Oklahoma, going to work or taking your goods to market often means a lot of windshield time in a car or truck. That means we understand and appreciate even more the value of a safe and reliable transportation system. Secretary Ridley has done a tremendous job leading our state’s effort to make improve transportation system. I’ve worked with Secretary Ridley in a variety of capacities, as a staffer for both U.S. Representative Frank Lucas and U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and as a state senator. He’s always been helpful and reliable partner in the effort to improve Oklahoma’s roads. I appreciate Secretary Ridley’s remarkable service and congratulate him on his retirement as transportation secretary.