- Associated Press - Monday, December 8, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved the state’s largest-ever single contract on Monday - a $71 million project that involves reconstructing two interchanges along Interstate 35 in Norman.

Construction work is expected to begin in early 2015 and take about two-and-a-half years to complete. The project will expand the interstate from four lanes to six lanes from the recently completed Main Street interchange south to the Canadian River bridge, including the complete reconstruction of the Lindsey Street and State Highway 9 interchanges.

“It’s a culmination of a lot of work that has gone into the entire Interstate 35 corridor from Oklahoma City on down to the (South Canadian) River south of Norman,” Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Mike Patterson told the commission. “It’s been a long, arduous effort by this agency and for the people who drive I-35.”

The commission voted unanimously to award the project to Tulsa-based Sherwood Construction Co., Inc., the same company that did major portions of the I-40 Crosstown Expressway in Oklahoma City. Although the base contract is for $71 million, Sherwood can earn financial incentives totaling more than $1.7 million by completing phases of the project ahead of schedule.

The new Lindsey Street bridge will be similar to the Main Street bridge, and will include longer exit and entrance ramps, a wider bridge and a master set of traffic lights designed to accommodate larger volumes of traffic. The City of Norman has partnered with ODOT to add artwork and landscaping to the bridge.

Oklahoma’s Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley, who started with the department as an equipment operator in 1965, said the first project to widen Interstate 35 south of downtown Oklahoma City was started in 1979.

“We’ve been working diligently since then, going south to get this section done,” Ridley said. “The last three years or so, the department has really been able to make some headway down there.”

The commission also approved a $25 million contract for redoing the Canadian River bridge over Interstate 40 in Canadian County. Patterson said that project has been delayed numerous times for environmental studies to determine the impact on barn swallows and river shiners native to the area.

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Follow Sean Murphy at www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy


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