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Funding OK'd in Crosstown highway plan
Money is still needed to tear down old one, department official says.

By John Greiner Published: September 20, 2008
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A new project for Oklahoma City's Crosstown Expressway was among nearly $70 million in highway contracts approved Friday after being delayed earlier this month because of federal funding problems.

State transportation commissioners met in a special meeting to authorize the contracts Friday so work could begin on them as soon as possible.

The Crosstown project is for $40.5 million, the largest amount ever awarded by the commission, according to Gary Ridley, director of the state Department of Transportation.

Sherwood Construction Co. Inc., of Catoosa, was awarded the contract with its low bid.

Ridley estimated work on the project will begin in 45 days.

The project includes the construction of three bridges on 2.64 miles of the new Crosstown route east of Pennsylvania Avenue.

Ridley also told transportation commissioners that the department's new eight-year construction plan should include enough money to finish the remaining $180 to $185 million of the new Crosstown by 2012.

The department hasn't found a source yet for about $100 million needed for tearing down the current Crosstown Expressway, building a boulevard in its place and an interchange at Byers and Lincoln Boulevard, Ridley said.


BACKGROUND
The Sept. 8 delay of action on the contracts approved Friday was caused because of projected cuts in federal highway money to all states.

Later that week, the U.S. Senate approved emergency funding to shift $8 billion from general government spending into the federal highway trust fund that pays for highway programs. The U.S. House approved Senate amendments, and the president signed the legislation.

The commission approved about $70 million in contracts and rejected about $13 million in other contracts Friday.


Search on for lottery trustee
Gov. Brad Henry is searching for someone to serve on the seven-person board that oversees the state lottery.

Norman businessman Pete Wilson has resigned after 10 months as a Lottery Commission trustee.

Wilson cited demands of his business in his resignation letter, said Jim Scroggins, the commission's executive director.

Henry spokesman Paul Sund said the governor hopes to choose a replacement soon.

Staff Writer Tony Thornton

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