Contractors Prepare for Bid on ODOT Projects

Thursday, February 19th 2009, 10:26 pm
By: News 9

By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahomans are waiting to see if they'll be put to work repairing the state's bridges and roads.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation lays out all of the road and bridge projects across the state that need to be completed and how much it will cost, then allow contractors to bid on them.

Contractor Rich Horrocks with the Manhattan Road and Bridge Company said even though he's already working on the new Interstate 40 Crosstown, he's ready to throw his hat in the ring for more projects.

"We'll be interested in a lot of those," Horrocks said. "We just got the list yesterday and the day before, and we're studying that to see which ones we can do."

Horrocks has his eye on Tulsa's Inter Dispersal Loop, a $66 million project that stretches about three miles. At least 40 bridges and roads near the sight need repairing or replacing and Horrocks is prepared to hire additional staff.

Horrocks said he'll need laborers, operators, management and clerical hires, and plans to make the positions permanent jobs.

"We're going to have the largest transportation letting, most projects on the road, ever in the state history," said Bobby Stem with the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors.

Stem lobbies for contractors in the state legislature. He said just about everyone wants a share of the state's $460 million infrastructure pie.

"We have a couple hundred people a day right now applying to our membership for jobs," Stem said.

Most of the applicants were busy with residential projects, many of which have been shelved since the housing and credit crisis hit last fall.

Construction companies were anticipating another building boom when President Obama pledged to pump money into the nation's crumbling infrastructure.

"We've been waiting for this time for a long time and we've been working toward it with the construction industry for at least six months," Terri Angier of ODOT said.

ODOT believes there will be plenty of work to go around.

"Normally, our average construction bid letting is about $60 million in a month and this time it's going to be six times that," Angier said.

ODOT said applying for the jobs is up to the contractors who receive the bids, and none have been awarded yet.

The two biggest projects on the lists are in Tulsa and along I-40 stretching into Canadian County. Those jobs are expected to take about two years to complete.