Late-spring start expected on SH-4 project

Yukon’s Schwarz Paving earns contract for phase two construction

Yukon Vice Mayor Jeff Wootton, Ward 3 City Council Member Donna Yanda and Mayor Shelli Selby shovel dirt during a Feb. 21st groundbreaking ceremony for the second phase of the State Highway 4 project. They are joined by State Sen. Jack Stewart (R-Yukon), Canadian County Commissioners Tracey Rider and Tom Manske, Yukon city administrators and engineers, along with representatives of the project contractor Schwarz Paving and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Construction is due to start in June on the second phase of the State Highway 4 project in Yukon.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Feb. 6 awarded a $12,628,932.55 contract to Schwarz Paving Co. for the reconstruction and widening of SH-4 from SH-66 (Main Street) north past Wagner Road to the North Canadian River.

Schwarz Paving’s bid price was 3.2% below the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) engineer’s estimate. Four other companies submitted bids, ranging from $13,999,863 to $14,965,764.40.

“We found some savings that other contractors didn’t have,” said Brian Schwarz, project manager with Schwarz Paving. “This is a ‘low bid’ industry, so we were able to get the job.”

The construction cost will be paid with an even split of federal and state funds, according to ODOT spokeswoman Lisa Shearer-Salim.

“We anticipate work to begin later this spring and estimate completion by summer 2024, weather permitting,” Shearer-Salim said

Phase one of the SH-4 project – from the North Canadian River to Wilshire – was finished nearly two years ago.

Schwarz Paving’s project manager described the phase-two construction, which will cover about 2 miles.

“The in-town section will be five lanes (including turn lanes) close to Wagner Road, then will go down to two lanes to tie into the new river bridge,” said Schwarz, a Yukon High School graduate.

The SH-4 alignment is being moved west.

“It’s a lower area, so we’re going to have to bring in a whole lot of dirt to raise up several feet to put the road higher, so it doesn’t flood,” Schwarz explained. “The key to the schedule of the job is trying to be dry enough. When it rains, it’s all going to go to that one spot.”

Schwarz crews are expected wait until June to start construction, thus avoiding the historically wet spring season.

Concrete lanes will be installed at the signalized SH-66/SH-4 intersection extending north 460 feet. This section will be closed to thru-traffic during construction.

“It will happen toward the beginning of the job,” Schwarz said. “This actually will get shut down for about a month.

“The reason is because we’re raising the road three of four feet right through there. You can’t really do that under live traffic.”

Wagner Road will serve as an east-west detour route.

The contractor will earn a $20,000 daily incentive if reopening this concrete section of SH-4 in fewer than 35 days.

“We’re putting in a lot of drainage to take the water underground, especially through the curbed section,” Schwarz said.

“And then two real large drainage boxes, one extending the one by the soccer fields and then one at Wagner Road, where that span bridge is.”



Phase two ultimately will tie into the south end of the new North Canadian River bridge. The rest of the project will feature two, 12-foot-wide asphalt lanes with eight-foot shoulders – just like phase one.

SH-4 will remain open to traffic during construction of the asphalt section. This phase has been designed to allow future expansion of the asphalt to four full lanes.

ODOT has allotted 445 calendar days for the contractor to finish the SH-4 phase two construction.

Since SH-4 is a state roadway, the project is under ODOT’s supervision.

Contractor Manhattan Road & Bridge in spring 2021 finished the $13.1 million first phase in Yukon city limits, between Wilshire and Wagner Road. This included a new bridge over the North Canadian River.

Phase two construction was delayed more than a year, first to allow ODOT engineers more time to finalize design plans and later because of utility relocation issues.

The City of Yukon was responsible for right-of-way acquisition and worked with ODOT to move gas, electric, cable, and water utility lines for the first two phases.

A third phase of SH-4 construction, from Wilshire to State Highway 3 (N.W. Expressway) in Oklahoma City limits, will follow phase two.