Life in the Fast Track

by Richard L. Ridings, C.E.O.; Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma City, OK,
Stephen B. Quinn, (F.ASCE), Assoc.; Howard Needles Tammen and Bergendoff, Dallas, TX,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1992, Vol. 62, Issue 4, Pg. 46-49

Document Type: Feature article


Through innovative financing and skillful construction management, Oklahoma is proving that transportation megaprojects are still possible, even during an economic downturn. The result is 61 mi of state-of-the-art turnpike, built $10 million under budget and four months early. The project began in March 1989, when OTA issued a $558 million revenue bond that retired outstanding debt and left $357 million for new construction. This made it possible to add four new turnpikes that had been deemed financially infeasible. OTA and HNTB were able to justify the cost of the new turnpikes by making them part of the overall turnpike systems, rather than stand alone projects. To fulfill financing obligations, all 76 mi of new turnpike had to be open and collecting tolls by September 1992. Further complicating the project, state laws required 90% of the people employed on the job to be Oklahoma residents. That meant dividing the work into manageable sections that Oklahoma contractors could handle. The result was a management nightmare: 22 design firms, 86 construction contracts and an ambitious 26 month construction schedule. However, the Associated General contractors worked closely with designers to ensure work was completed on schedule, participating in design reviews and agreeing to a disputes review board.

Subject Headings: Highways and roads | Night time construction | Lifeline systems | Financing | Contractors and subcontractors | Construction companies | Scheduling | Innovation | Oklahoma | United States

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