“This is the next step in the process in order to get things done,” state Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley said.
Tulsa repair work praised
In other business, Ridley told commissioners that repairs to a heavily traveled bridge over downtown Tulsa took about half the time expected.
The contractor, Manhattan Road and Bridge, which is based in Tulsa, used crews working around the clock and somehow got a specially made beam made and delivered in a short time. As a result, repairs were made in 15 days to the west leg of Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop, which had shut down the eastbound lanes of Interstate 244 north of the Arkansas River bridge.
A truck struck the bridge, which caused major structural damage to a beam that helps support the bridge, Ridley said.
The loss of the bridge further increased traffic congestion in an area with lanes closed around the Arkansas River bridge construction.
“We made a mess out of Tulsa,” Ridley said.
A truck with an attached hydraulic lift struck the bridge on Oct. 15 from below on Third Street while the attachment was in the raised position.
Repairs to the bridge were about $475,000, Ridley said.
Incentives of $20,000 a day for each day the project came in before the 30-day estimated time also were made because the bridge carried about 64,000 vehicles a day.
Manhattan Road and Bridge earned about $440,000 in incentives. The bridge reopened to traffic Oct. 30.
“We're tickled to death to pay the incentive,” Ridley said.
The truck was stuck under the bridge after the accident, Ridley said, and Transportation Department attorneys are working with the involved insurance companies to pay for the bridge repairs.
“They will get a bill,” he said.
CNG vehicles arrive
Ridley said the Transportation Department also received the first four compressed natural gas vehicles it recently ordered.
The four vehicles are sedans. The department is expected to receive the rest of its CNG vehicles — 156 pickups — in the next couple of months.
He said they will replace vehicles with about 150,000 miles on them.
Fuel savings over the life of the CNG vehicles should be significant, Ridley said, because of the lower cost of natural gas: less than half the cost of diesel and about half the cost of gasoline.
The purchase is in response to Fallin's efforts to convert the state fleet to compressed natural gas to save money, help the environment and work toward U.S. energy independence.