, Muskogee, OK

October 12, 2013

State road, bridge work a positive sign

— The Oklahoma Transportation Commission adopted a $6 billion, eight-year highway and bridge construction plan last week

The plan includes nearly 2,000 individual projects to be completed by 2021, including replacing or rehabbing 924 bridges and improving 657 miles of two-lane highways and 552 miles of high-volume highways and interstates.

This work is sorely needed. The state’s roads and bridges, while slowly improving, are among the nation’s worst.

Oklahoma’s bridges were ranked worst in the nation in 2005 by the Road Information Program, a nonprofit transportation research group based in Washington, D.C. It also said then Oklahoma led the country in structurally deficient bridges.

Since then, state lawmakers have made funding roads and bridges a priority, allowing the Transportation Department to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges from a high of 1,168 in 2004 to 556 last year.

A lot of Oklahoma’s roads and bridges have been standing for decades upon decades.

It is good to see officials have made fixing our transportation networks a priority and continue to address the problem.