Tulsa, OK – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will receive approximately $50 million in grant money through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program, also known as TIGER grants. The grant process was extremely competitive with over 1,400 applications received nationwide.
The grant money is given to Oklahoma for the replacement of the westbound I-244 bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa (southbound direction), estimated at $87 million, of which $50 million will be funded by the TIGER grant. Oklahoma has already committed $37 million toward the project. The project encompasses a multimodal bridge structure for interstate, passenger rail, pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
Estimates for the full project are in excess of $132 million. Funding from the TIGER grant will go toward the first phase of the project. Additional funding is still to be secured.
"This is great news for Oklahoma. We are extremely excited about the opportunity to move this critical interstate bridge forward in our construction program. The goal is to expedite the construction of the westbound I-244 bridge which contains the intermodal aspects with rail and pedestrian components," Gary Ridley, Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation said.
The department will move forward quickly with the project development process and development of engineering plans to advance towards construction as soon as possible.
Two other projects in Oklahoma were also submitted for TIGER grant consideration, but did not receive funding: one for an elevated freight railroad in Claremore, the other for improvements to an existing rail line between Oklahoma City and Shawnee.
TIGER grants are $1.5 billion of discretionary stimulus funds from U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood to be used for surface transportation projects.
Below are bullet points that were distributed previously on the I-244 bridge project.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation
Tulsa: I-244 Arkansas River bridge
Preliminary total project estimate: $132 million. $37 million already committed.
The existing I-244 Arkansas River bridge is categorized as structurally deficient.
The proposed new bridge will be designed to allow for both wide shoulders and additional lane openings when the highway system it connects to is widened for higher carrying capacity. The proposed bridge would carry three through lanes, one dedicated entrance/exit lane and 12-foot shoulders in each direction.
The proposed rail lines would carry two designated alignments - one for a high-speed passenger train to serve portions of the nationally designated South Central High-Speed Rail Corridor between Tulsa, Oklahoma City and Ft. Worth, Texas, and a second one for a commuter line to operate between downtown Tulsa and Tulsa's West Bank area as part of the city of Tulsa's new transit-oriented Downtown Area Master Plan.
The bridge would also have a dedicated bicycle/pedestrian river crossing facility with new lighting, signs and pathways.