Deficient Bridges: Replacement and Rehabilitation Progress
The conditions of Oklahoma’s bridges and the state’s journey from having some of the worst bridges in the nation to some of the best are well-known.
Beginning in 2000, Oklahoma consistently ranked as one of the worst states in the nation for structurally deficient bridges. At the most recent peak as reported in 2004, 1,168 bridges or a full 17% of the 6,800 total highway system bridges were classified as structurally deficient. By comparison, that same year Texas ranked near the best in the nation with less than 2% of their more than 32,000 highway bridges classified as structurally deficient.
The highway system includes non-tolled state, U.S. and interstate highways maintained by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Nearly 16,000 bridges on local roads are maintained by cities and counties, and are not part of the highway system.
ODOT has placed a priority and focused available resources on this chronic problem in earnest since 2003. With the passage of House Bill 1078 in 2005, which created the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) fund, a more reliable funding source became available to address the state’s backlog of critical infrastructure improvements.
The above graphic shows the culmination of a bold and visionary plan unveiled by Gov. Mary Fallin and continued by Gov. Kevin Stitt that will virtually eliminate Oklahoma's bridge structural deficiencies. In 2011, the agency was challenged to prepare an aggressive investment strategy to address the condition of these bridges within an eight year window and then worked with the Legislature to ensure a funding solution was in place.
Recent data supplied to the Federal Highway Administration shows Oklahoma is down to 86 structurally deficient bridges at the end of 2019 and is on track to have 1% or fewer of all highway bridges rated structurally deficient by the end of the decade.
Though this is expected to bring Oklahoma's ranking to among the best in the nation, the state must continue to invest in its infrastructure system. It's estimated that ODOT will need to continue to address at least 90 bridges annually just to keep up with aging infrastructure.
For a list of scheduled ODOT bridge projects, view the FFY 2020-2027 Eight-year Construction Work Plan.
For information on all public bridges in Oklahoma, visit ODOT's Map & Data Portal.
Last Modified on 06/10/2020
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