ODOT chief cites interchange ‘partnership’

Contractor earns $14M contract for I-40/Frisco project; Gatz estimates year construction

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Oklahoma Department of Transportation executive director Tim Gatz talks about the need for a new Interstate 40 interchange at Frisco Road during Monday morning’s Oklahoma Transportation Commission “Zoom” videoconference meeting in Oklahoma City. Commissioners awarded a $14 million bid to Sherwood Construction of Tulsa to build the interchange on Yukon’s west side. (Photo provided)

By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer

Oklahoma’s transportation chief cited Canadian County’s growth and Garth Brooks Boulevard traffic congestion at a Monday meeting after a contractor was hired to build a new Interstate 40 interchange.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission has awarded a $14,061,010.28 “low” bid to Sherwood Construction of Tulsa to build the I-40/Frisco Road interchange just west of Yukon.

“That project is a result of a partnership with the City of Yukon to add that new interchange,” said Tim Gatz, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. “It will help alleviate a real traffic congestion problem at Garth Brooks Boulevard, at the existing interchange there, and the interchange at North Cimarron Road.

“Canadian County is one of the fastest-growing counties in the State of Oklahoma.”

The new I-40 interchange at Frisco Road (mile marker 135) will be one mile west of Garth Brooks Boulevard.

“That’s a great partnership; a great addition,” Gatz told commissioners. “We look forward to completing it.

“Construction there will be disruptive to travel on Interstate 40. We expect that to be completed in about a year.”

Gatz’s comments came near the end of the monthly Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting on July 6 in Oklahoma City.

Sherwood Construction’s bid was nearly $2.7 million below the engineer’s $16,738,908.02 estimate.

Four other companies submitted bids for the construction project – Duit Construction Co. ($14,494,704.95), Frontier Bridge Inc. ($15,177,957.50), Allen Contracting Inc./Shell Construction Inc. ($15,325,676.84), and Manhattan Road & Bridge Co. ($17,399,900).

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WHY THIS NEW ACCESS POINT?

Gatz, Oklahoma’s secretary of transportation, emphasized the “unique nature” of these interchange projects during his comments at Monday’s meeting.

“The department of transportation, based on our resource availability, has an extreme challenge maintaining the operation and state of good repair for our existing interchanges,” Gatz told commissioners. “So, we’re not quick to go build new access points.

“However, when we receive a request from a community, we definitely pay attention to the folks that we serve. And it takes a partnership.”

ODOT and the City of Yukon will share the cost of the I-40/Frisco Road interchange project, with 65% in state funds and a 35% local match.

“Yukon has dollars in this project – to the tune of about $6 million,” Gatz noted.

“And they also have participated in right-of-way acquisition and utility relocation and paid for the design of the interchange.

“The only way that we can get these new access points done is with that partnership and fellowship.”

City of Yukon officials expect considerable economic development along Frisco Road as construction proceeds on the new interchange.

In anticipation of the improved highway access, Frisco Road has been widened to four lanes north of I-40 to State Highway 66 (Main Street).

“We are ready to get started and move forward,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said recently. “I am ready to get this project going and bringing in some much-needed revenue.

“With Oklahoma City encroaching all around us and taking some of our tax dollars, this area is needed more than ever.”

City leaders and developers envision hotels, restaurants and other sales tax-generating retailers to build along Frisco Road in Yukon city limits.

Nearly 46,000 is the average traffic count along I-40 near the site of the future interchange.