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U.S. Department of Transportation, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, D.C., www.dot.gov/affairs/briefing.htm - News

FHWA 72-10
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Contact: Nancy Singer
Tel: 202-366-0660

U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Announces $49.4 Million Recovery Act Grant Agreement

Work to Begin on I-244 Bridge Replacement in Tulsa

WASHINGTON - U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced that construction on a new multimodal bridge on Interstate 244 can begin thanks to a signed agreement between the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) for $49.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The reconstructed bridge will be Tulsa's first multimodal crossing to accommodate highway, pedestrian and bicycle traffic, as well as high-speed intercity and commuter rail.

The $86.5 million I-244 bridge replacement project is considered critical to Tulsa's proposed transit-oriented development plans. Without this bridge, a planned commuter rail line linking Tulsa's central business district and west bank areas will not move forward.

"The I-244 bridge replacement project is another great example of how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and targeting needed transportation projects," said Secretary LaHood. "It is also key to the region's economic competitiveness and will improve both truck and rail freight movement over the Arkansas River."

Recovery Act dollars will pay for the replacement of the existing bridge, which is in deteriorated condition. The bridge requires excessive lane closures for maintenance work, creating delays for travelers and extensive costs for the state. It is ranked as one of the worst five interstate bridges in the state, according to ODOT.

"This project will bring together multiple transportation options at one location, making it easier and more convenient for passengers and offering more choices to businesses for moving their goods and products," said Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez. "In addition, offering more options helps reduce congestion, which will reduce emissions."

The $49.4 million grant was awarded under the Recovery Act's TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) program. The TIGER program is designed to promote innovative, multimodal and multijurisdictional transportation projects that provide significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, region or the nation.

The Department announced the selection of $1.5 billion worth of TIGER grants for 51 projects as part of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act on Feb. 17.

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