When FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez visited Oklahoma late last month, work was already well under way on the I-244/Inner Dispersal Loop (IDL) rehabilitation in Tulsa. But, as he found out, this Recovery Act project is doing a lot more than just improving how residents get around.
In our latest "Voices of the Recovery Act" video, two local construction workers--Jennifer Miller and Jose Lecona--share how they're taking advantage of new career opportunities and providing for their families because of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"I want to come to work every day because this is a good job," Jennifer Miller told us. "Being a woman, it's a huge opportunity to be able to do this kind of work. It's very empowering to be able to come out here and to be able to try new things."
For Jose Lecona, who has been working on the IDL since construction began in the summer of 2009, the Recovery Act helped him get more hours and gain greater stability.
"I've been able to keep insurance for my family, which is a big thing for me," he said. "Before, I had to struggle."
The $70.4 million pavement and bridge rehabilitation--paid for with $63.4 million in Recovery Act money--is the single largest project ever awarded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. It will rebuild the north and west legs of the IDL by reconstructing 23 miles of heavily deteriorated pavement and replacing the decks on 44 bridges.
When the project is completed in early 2011, drivers of the 65,000 vehicles that use the IDL every day will enjoy a smoother, safer ride. And thanks to improved access to downtown Tulsa, businesses there will benefit.
But Tulsa's IDL is just one of the nearly 12,000 FHWA Recovery Act projects worth more than $24 billion under way right now. And those are just the road and bridge projects. Overall, there are more than 14,000 Recovery Act projects under way putting Americans to work on highways, railways, transitways, airways, and waterways.
That's a pretty good reach, and thanks to lower than expected bids, the Recovery Act is reaching further than even we anticipated.
Across America, Recovery Act projects are helping to keep workers like Jennifer Miller and Jose Lecona on the job today as they build the infrastructure we'll need tomorrow. If you have a story about how the Recovery Act is improving your community, upload a video to YouTube and email us a link at email@example.com.