Governor Fallin Announces Plan To Repair Bridges In Oklahoma

Monday, October 3rd 2011, 7:23 pm
By: News 9

Jamie Oberg, News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Most drivers in Oklahoma City just try to avoid the Interstate 40 Crosstown Bridge all together, but the bridge is about to be unavoidable.

Probably the most unique part of the Governor's plan will use, or re-use rather, beams from the Crosstown Bridge to repair "bad bridges" in counties across the state.

County officials love the idea, because they don't have the money to replace or make all the necessary repairs. They said engineers have assured them parts of the bridge are safe and good to go for another 50 to 70 years.

That's just the starting point to Fallin's three-part "Bridge Improvement and Turnpike Modernization Plan". She is not proud of Oklahoma being at the top of the nation's list for bad bridges.

The first part of the plan is to fix the state's 706 "bad bridges". That's only counting the state highway bridges.

Department of Transportation said they have the money to fix about half of those bridges and projects are already underway. But they hope to get more money going to specific projects under the Governor's plan.

Governor Fallin said her goal is to have zero bridges in Oklahoma on the structurally unsafe list by 2019.

The second phase of Fallin's plan is trickier, how to pay for it.

That's what Governor Fallin needs state lawmakers' help with to move money around, and increase the transportation spending limit to $550 million.

Bottom line, Fallin said this is an investment in safety and Oklahoma's economy.

"We're going to focus like a laser beam on job creation and economic growth in our state," Fallin said Monday at the statehouse. "Businesses don't want to set up shop on gravel roads, we know that."

So, what's the catch? Will we be paying more to travel Oklahoma roadways?

Governor Fallin said the plan will not raise taxes, tolls or fees anywhere in the state.

10/3/2011 Related Story: Oklahoma Governor Announces Plan To Fix Bad Bridges.