TULSA, Okla. — The state of Oklahoma has more than 10,000 miles of rural two-lane roads. More than half of them don't have shoulders.
Thanks to federal grants and state funding, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has a plan to add shoulders to 10 percent of the state's highways.
This is all a part of the nearly $8 billion in upgrades coming to Oklahoma roads since it was announced in October. Over the next eight years, ODOT has plans for more than 1,600 critically needed highway construction and safety projects, including widening two-lane rural roads.
Two projects are currently underway in Green Country with US-75 from Sapulpa past Mounds and two miles of Highway 169 through Owasso.
As of April 2021, nearly 60 percent of fatalities and accidents with serious injuries occur on rural highways in Oklahoma.
Bobby Stem, executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors, says there are several factors that make these roadways extremely dangerous stretches.
"Those are incredibly dangerous whenever somebody experiences a flat tire and they find themselves needing to pull over on the side of the road or runs out of gas. Now, this vehicle and this family are stranded in a roadway, and so that's deadly," says Stem.
He says another concern is steep drop-offs for some roads.
Construction work for more roads could begin as soon as later this year.
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