ODOT used the project as an opportunity to consider efficiency improvements within the system. CDM Smith helped ODOT make informed decisions by preparing a detailed cost-benefit analysis of options. The analysis revealed that reworking traffic signals and other obstacles, while requiring an initial capital outlay, would result in a $3.78 billion reduction in travel time expenses for road users and could help reduce the historically high commercial vehicle accident rates on this stretch of U.S. 69/75.
This project reflects how important efficient freight movement is to a region's economic competitiveness.
Energizing the Economy
The local economy can expect a boost from the improvements. Increased efficiency and connectivity along this route in Bryan County will strengthen the flow of tourism to the nearby Choctaw Nation, whose businesses already attract more than 3.4 million visitors per year and employ over 8,200 across a variety of industries. “This project reflects how important the relationship is between efficient freight movements and the economic competitiveness of a region,” said Melissa Ziegler, the CDM Smith principal project manager. U.S. 69/75 is an economic lifeline for the Choctaw Nation and plays an important role in connecting nearby manufacturing firms, agricultural businesses, food processors and military facilities, such as the McAlester Army Ammunitions Plant, to key travel routes.
The scope of these benefits will reach far beyond Oklahoma’s Bryan County, as freight and passengers more efficiently travel route U.S. 69/75 the entire length of the continental United States. The U.S. Department of Transportation, upon awarding this FASTLANE grant, has recognized this project as “essential to America’s cities and our transportation network.” CDM Smith’s involvement in the grant process for ODOT will help bring this project to fruition and strengthen the economic vitality of the communities that rely on U.S. 69/75 every day.