At the Department of Transportation we are helping to secure America's future by upgrading our nation's transportation infrastructure to support economic growth. And I can't help thinking about one such upgrade that was scheduled to be realized this year--only to be completed a stunning 10 months ahead of schedule!
The I-40 reconstruction project in Oklahoma between Yukon and El Reno was completed in early December 2010. The $60 million project covered nearly seven miles and included roadway reconstruction, resurfacing, safety improvements and reconstruction of three bridges. That's a lot of work.
And work that was important to the people of Oklahoma, too. An average of 39,000 vehicles travel this section of I-40 daily, and more than 28 percent of that traffic is commercial trucks.
Prior to the upgrade, this section of I-40 was identified as one of the worst interstate pavements in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and repairing it was recognized as a critical need by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The stretch of highway had even been singled out by Parade Magazine as one of "The Worst Roads in America."
But it took a grant of nearly $30 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to get the project moving.
In June 2009, work began. Originally scheduled to take nearly two and a half year to complete, it wrapped up in just more than a year and a half. I think that's a remarkable achievement, and I congratulate the contractors, the Oklahoma DOT, and--most importantly--the workers who made it happen.
Thus far, Oklahoma has been able to translate its Recovery Act investments into more than 2.8 million hours of good work on stimulus projects. And at the same time, the ability of Oklahoma businesses to transport goods has been improved.
Good jobs and a better network for moving American goods--that's how building a 21st century transportation system helps us win the future.