BRT system speeding to OKC

Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 By: Kathryn McNutt Source: The Journal Record

The city’s first rapid transit bus route – which runs mainly along Northwest Expressway and Classen Boulevard – will pass within one-half mile of 91,000 jobs and 45,000 residents.

“The route serves three hospitals, several residential neighborhoods and provides an important connection to downtown,” consultant Brian Comer said Tuesday during a presentation to the Oklahoma City Council.

The council approved the preliminary design report and authorized engineering consultant HNTB Corp. to prepare final plans and specifications for the Northwest Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT) project.

“We’ve completed about 30% of the design for the project. We’re continuing to work through that design this summer,” said Jason Ferbrache, the city’s public transportation and parking director.

The timeline shows construction beginning in June 2022 and service starting late in 2023.

Ferbrache said the city is advertising for bus procurement and has started work on branding for the new service.

The BRT will operate like a rail system with enhanced buses and 15-minute frequency during peak hours, Comer said.

Sixteen pairs of stations along the route will have raised level boarding platforms, ticket kiosks and covered, lighted shelters with benches.

The line runs from downtown to a park-and-ride location at the end of the line at Northwest Expressway and Meridian Avenue. Comer said consultants are evaluating two additional locations for park-and-ride options along the route.

The Northwest BRT runs through parts of Wards 1, 2 and 6. Councilmember James Cooper, a proponent of the system, said he looks forward to additional BRT routes in other parts of the city.

The total cost of the project is expected to be nearly $28.9 million, with 50% coming from a U.S. Department of Transportation grant.  The city’s match comes from 2017 General Obligation Bonds, Better Street Safer City Sales Tax program and COTPA Trust funds.

The price tag provides for all design, engineering and construction of the BRT system, including sidewalks, bus pads and stations, bike lanes, lighting, accessibility improvements, pedestrian crossings and guideway improvements, traffic signal modifications and procurement of new vehicles.

The city will purchase a fleet of nine buses – seven to service the route plus two spare vehicles.

Also Tuesday, the council awarded a contract to Flintco for $12,798,784 for improvements at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. The project includes a new entrance to the Freede Little Theatre inside the hall. Funds will come from the Better Streets Safer City bond. Work will start this summer and take about two years to complete.

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