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  1. #1

    Default What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    OK, since we've been back in OKC (4/09), May between 150th and 164th has been under construction (it started long before that, though), Western between 150th and 164th has been under construction (it started long before that, though), and now Penn between 150th and 164th is under construction. All are narrowed to one lane each direction, and this is just pathetic, ridiculous, and stupid, since I have seen very little progress on either May or Western (Penn's just getting started, so I'm guessing it'll be a few months before they stop work on it and let it sit for months like the others have been). Does nobody in OKC planning see how f-ed up doing all 3 of these streets between 150th and 164th is?

    And why do projects just stop and sit for months? Back when I used to live here, projects did stop and sit for a while, but not for nearly as long as I've seen these sit with no work being done. Is it the contractors, is it the city, or what? Apparently there is no incentive (more money) to get done early and no penalty to take for-f-ing-ever to finish like there is with other projects (but those may not be city projects) in the metro area (and like there is in every other place we've lived/travelled in this country)?

    And why would OKC resurface MacArthur between Britton and Hefner (3 lanes of it, anyway) when that section absolutely did not need resurfacing? I can think of probably 100 mile-long sections of OKC streets that need resurfacing before that section did? Wonder what kind of political BS (or city councilman that lives along that stretch) was involved in that little boondoggle? I have to say, though, that they did 2 lanes of scraping and resurfacing in 3 days (it's just awaiting striping) - miraculous! Which makes it even *more* stupid that May and Western are taking forever to finish....

    Part rant, part truly wondering why OKC sucks so bad at road construction now? Thanks for reading, and if anybody has any insight on any of this stuff, I'd appreciate reading it...

    Oh well, all the wonderful projects in MAPS3 will make me forget all about this kind of stuff, I suppose - I just gotta go to the Central Park and find a parking spot, then avoid all the homeless folks, and hope they have enough money to mow the grass so I can sit on it and dream away.....

  2. #2

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    I'm going to chalk this up in the "damned if you do, damned if you don't", category. People want wider roads to support all the new development, but then they don't want the construction that goes with it.

    Widening and reconstruction a mile of street typically takes a year. If people wanted it to go faster, then they'd need to live with closing a mile of street, but the public hates that, so construction is forced to take the longer time route. Also, simply milling and overlaying is amazingly easier to do than widening a road, so there's no comparison. OR, the City could have added a couple mills to the property tax or cut the number of projects to pay contractors to hire more people and work faster, but then the citizens would be angry with the higher tax or fewer projects would get done because more money was being spent per project.

    I could go on and on with more explanations, but I won't. If people want progress, they need to be willing to take it.

    /rant
    Last edited by LakeEffect; 12-19-2009 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Rant tag

  3. #3

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by cafeboeuf View Post
    I'm going to chalk this up in the "damned if you do, damned if you don't", category. People want wider roads to support all the new development, but then they don't want the construction that goes with it.
    Construction isn't the problem, it's doing three major roads right by each other all at the same time. That is stupidity, not "damned if you do, damned if you don't". Of course, logic doesn't always come into play (as you exhibited by your post).

  4. #4

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesimpsons82 View Post
    Construction isn't the problem, it's doing three major roads right by each other all at the same time. That is stupidity, not "damned if you do, damned if you don't". Of course, logic doesn't always come into play (as you exhibited by your post).
    Well, if you don't mind waiting 12 more years to finish out the rest of the area, then I suppose the City could have waited. Funny thing is that the roads are all left open, yet people complain. The first post says, "All are narrowed to one lane each direction". The roads were one lane each direction to begin with...

    Or, would you rather they widened further north first, when those roads are less traveled than the ones currently under construction?

    I stand by my damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  5. #5

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    I think its along the lines of chicken entrails and tea leaves..lol

    Seriously I think to peppered a entire area with road repair or improvements is maddening.

  6. #6

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmwise View Post
    I think its along the lines of chicken entrails and tea leaves..lol

    Seriously I think to peppered a entire area with road repair or improvements is maddening.
    Maddening, but necessary.

  7. #7

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by cafeboeuf View Post
    Maddening, but necessary.
    True infrastructure is important.
    But grrrr..lol

  8. #8

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by mikesimpsons82 View Post
    Construction isn't the problem, it's doing three major roads right by each other all at the same time. That is stupidity, not "damned if you do, damned if you don't". Of course, logic doesn't always come into play (as you exhibited by your post).
    I wonder what your postings would say if the City had chose to do nothing to these roads, left them narrow, 2 lanes with ever increasing traffic??

  9. #9

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Thats the problem do nothing or do something, but they could at least choose less traveled roads, then start on the heavy roads, so we can have alternative routes.

  10. #10

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    To start with, they appear to be doing it in that order.

  11. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Having observed, covered a lot of this for more than a decade, I can say Cafe is right - to a point. But there are some times when, quite frankly, it's down to the fact that a perfect human has not been created.
    City officials hemmed and hawed when a tv station nailed them last year for tearing up NE 122 east of Broadway, repaved it, and then one year later tore it up again to widen it and repave it yet again.
    I doubt there was any ill intent here - just humans being humans.
    Then there's another situation - that of awarding jobs to the lowest bidder. And there is at least one contractor I know of that is notorious for starting up a job, then shutting it down while everything is torn up, to move their crew to another job where the deadline is looming, and so on and so forth. And when I see their name on a road project I just know it's going to be a mess for far more time than necessary.

  12. #12

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    If I could change anything at all in state govt., I think it would be the mindset that often looks at a set of 'lowest and best' bids with a strong, strong bias for lowest.

  13. #13

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Just my two cents here:

    I am from Amarillo, TX and have been to your great city a few times in the past 5 months. I have really been shocked by how bad some of the highways and roads are in OKC! I even saw large cracks on a highway (sorry, forgot which one - heading south down the west side of the metro to hook up with 240 on the south side).

    Growing up, our family did a lot of road trips. My dad would point out how when we would drive back into Texas from any of the bordering states how much better the roads got. I think he was right.

    This isn't to puff up Texas - in fact, I really am hoping to move to OKC and am excited about all your city and state has to offer. I am just sincerely curious about the state of some of your roads.

  14. #14

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Well, lowest bid should be great, since pre-qualification is required in OKC. The pre-qualification is what needs to be examined in order to ensure that the low bid is the best bid. Maybe someone should look into that policy... someone experienced in researching, getting public information, and reporting on it. It's a mysterious process (at least in my understanding).

    Public Works used to operate in compartments, each group did what it needed. Teaching people to coordinate, and changing processes to encourage/require coordination, is very difficult to do.

  15. #15

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Lowest bid usually isn't the problem in roadwork, it is the lack of contractors being forced to do the job right instead of letting them do whatever they want. Too many do as little as they can get buy with.

    As far as Texas roads, most are pretty crappy nowadays, they have not been able to keep up with growth and when you get out in the rural areas they put that stupid chip seal crap all over instead of real paving and then have to come back and do the same thing over again in a few years, all that does is make contractors make more money. If they would just do it right to begin with (base and paving), they wouldn't have to redo the same stretch over and over.

  16. #16

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    The Romans did it better..

  17. #17

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by dengar22 View Post
    Just my two cents here:

    I am from Amarillo, TX and have been to your great city a few times in the past 5 months. I have really been shocked by how bad some of the highways and roads are in OKC! I even saw large cracks on a highway (sorry, forgot which one - heading south down the west side of the metro to hook up with 240 on the south side).

    Growing up, our family did a lot of road trips. My dad would point out how when we would drive back into Texas from any of the bordering states how much better the roads got. I think he was right.

    This isn't to puff up Texas - in fact, I really am hoping to move to OKC and am excited about all your city and state has to offer. I am just sincerely curious about the state of some of your roads.
    Oh my God Dengar! Now I have to object! I've had the pleasure of driving through Amarillo numerous times over the last few years and there is NOTHING about roads in Amarillo that are in any way better than roads in OKC. My travels through Amarillo have taken me all over the north part of the city (both to visit relatives or in my quest to find any sort of faster route through town to and from the NW) and I have yet to find any roads in the city that are any different from roads here. They are asphalt, they are fairly good, there are cracks, truck grooves and occasional potholes just as there are in OKC.

    You've picked out I-44 and the gaping spaces between the concrete slabs by NW 39th st. and used that as some sort of comparison with the entire city. I will admit that in general, highway in Texas are better but when you have a population of 23 million paying gas taxes vs. 3.5 million in Oklahoma, you're going to have significantly more money to spend.

    I-40, which used to be awful through western OK is nearly all repaved and lined with cable barrier. No, OK can't afford to rebuild it all in concrete but its just as smooth as the road in TX.

  18. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by cafeboeuf View Post
    Well, lowest bid should be great, since pre-qualification is required in OKC. The pre-qualification is what needs to be examined in order to ensure that the low bid is the best bid. Maybe someone should look into that policy... someone experienced in researching, getting public information, and reporting on it. It's a mysterious process (at least in my understanding).

    Public Works used to operate in compartments, each group did what it needed. Teaching people to coordinate, and changing processes to encourage/require coordination, is very difficult to do.

    Maybe one could do an open records search where one examines which contractors go beyond their contractual deadlines the most, and then ask those in charge how much tardiness would it take to disqualify a contractor, and then match such standards against other major cities to see if it's acceptable.... that sounds like a pretty good project for a ... journalist ... I'm wondering if we have any of those left in this town....

  19. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    I'm not kidding, btw, when I say there is ONE contractor in particular that seems to be rather blatant in how it does road jobs. It's always amazed me because at some point they're just going to be so freaking obvious how they start and stop jobs, and how often they've got to go back and redo the work.

    On a totally unrelated matter, can anyone help me with the name of a movie that starred Sean Astin as a college football player?

  20. #20

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    I'm not kidding, btw, when I say there is ONE contractor in particular that seems to be rather blatant in how it does road jobs. It's always amazed me because at some point they're just going to be so freaking obvious how they start and stop jobs, and how often they've got to go back and redo the work.

    On a totally unrelated matter, can anyone help me with the name of a movie that starred Sean Astin as a college football player?
    I have noticed that about them in the past...I know my father is glad that he doesn't have to deal with any of them anymore...he rather enjoys retirement.

  21. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Cafe, can you share any details about the crosswalks at NW 23 and Broadway and which contractor did the work?

  22. #22

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by mugofbeer View Post
    Oh my God Dengar! Now I have to object! I've had the pleasure of driving through Amarillo numerous times over the last few years and there is NOTHING about roads in Amarillo that are in any way better than roads in OKC. My travels through Amarillo have taken me all over the north part of the city (both to visit relatives or in my quest to find any sort of faster route through town to and from the NW) and I have yet to find any roads in the city that are any different from roads here. They are asphalt, they are fairly good, there are cracks, truck grooves and occasional potholes just as there are in OKC.

    You've picked out I-44 and the gaping spaces between the concrete slabs by NW 39th st. and used that as some sort of comparison with the entire city. I will admit that in general, highway in Texas are better but when you have a population of 23 million paying gas taxes vs. 3.5 million in Oklahoma, you're going to have significantly more money to spend.

    I-40, which used to be awful through western OK is nearly all repaved and lined with cable barrier. No, OK can't afford to rebuild it all in concrete but its just as smooth as the road in TX.
    Touche, mug. You are correct, I am comparing the "better" roads in Amarillo (namely, in the west and southwest) with apparantly some of your worst roads. I will concede that point.

    My larger question was one of the highways I guess and you did provide what seems to me as a reasonable answer - that there are more folks paying in to the road system in Texas.

    Quick question - what is the road construction coming in on I-40 from the west - are they expanding it to three lanes??

  23. #23

    Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    No, it was a very poorly maintained road for a lot of years. They have paved most of it from TX to OKC but a lot of it is installing those cable barriers in the center median. I was on it a month ago from Amarillo and it was nearly finished.

  24. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post
    I'm not kidding, btw, when I say there is ONE contractor in particular that seems to be rather blatant in how it does road jobs. It's always amazed me because at some point they're just going to be so freaking obvious how they start and stop jobs, and how often they've got to go back and redo the work.

    On a totally unrelated matter, can anyone help me with the name of a movie that starred Sean Astin as a college football player?
    Rudy
    Continue the Renaissance!!!

  25. Default Re: What's wrong with OKC road construction/planning?

    Quote Originally Posted by dengar22 View Post
    Touche, mug. You are correct, I am comparing the "better" roads in Amarillo (namely, in the west and southwest) with apparantly some of your worst roads. I will concede that point.

    My larger question was one of the highways I guess and you did provide what seems to me as a reasonable answer - that there are more folks paying in to the road system in Texas.

    Quick question - what is the road construction coming in on I-40 from the west - are they expanding it to three lanes??
    I am surprised no one has noticed the fact that ODOT is doing surface rehabilitation on all of Oklahoma City's freeways in addition to reconstruction. I honestly find it nice that many of the highways, notably I-44, are now nice and smooth.

    Folks, face it. Road construction projects across the country are never perfect. Take I-45 at mile marker 81. Either two separate contractors were working the project, or a single contractor started at the northern end of the project and the southern end at the same time. Either way, at some point, the surveyors screwed up. The norther stretch under FM 1488 was several inches lower than the southern stretch. Eventually they figured it out and tried to correct it after the concrete was laid, but the dip was causing people to bottom out on the freeway. Eventually, they shaved it down, but it took three years.

    Even more, the next stretch that was started in 2005 from FM 1488 to S Loop 336 in Conroe involved the north-bound feeder. About 3/4 mile of the right lane was left unpaved between Crighton and Loop 336 because someone screwed up where a buried gas pipeline was concerned. 12 months passed before the pipeline was moved, which took another 6 months. In the meantime, the feeder was narrowed to one lane, causing a nasty bottleneck because someone didn't have their crap together. It added 15 minutes onto my commute time, and it created a huge safety issue as these lovely Houston drivers would illegally enter I-45 northbound with no regard to freeway traffic, just so they wouldn't have to deal with the feeder.

    Texas, it's like a whole other country.
    Continue the Renaissance!!!

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