Contracts awarded, supervised by ODOT's own "Space Cowboys"


June 12, 2002

PR# 02-044

Detoured I-40 drivers can now look forward to rapid progress being made on the bridge rebuilding and a smoother ride. The Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded the I-40 bridge contract at an emergency Commission meeting held today. The 120-day contract was awarded to Gilbert Central Corporation of Fort Worth, Texas at a cost of $10,903,261.92. The contractor has 57 days to move traffic back on to the bridge. Initially, the contractor will only have access to the west side of the bridge awaiting debris removal from the river. Once that is complete, the contractor will be allowed to continue on the east side. Other bids offered were from Traylor Brothers, Inc. and a joint submission from Jensen Construction and Muskogee Bridge Company, Inc.

This massive undertaking will be a 24-hour operation under the supervision of the contractor, ODOT and Cobb Engineering bridge inspectors. Cobb's inspectors are ODOT retirees Pete Byers, Cecil Davis and W.T. Merrill, amicably known as ODOT's own "Space Cowboys" in reference to the recent movie of the same name. Combined, these men have 107 years of experience.

"It'll be my responsibility to get all the ducks in a row and to keep the teams in sync with each other," said Byers.

In addition, Veldo Goins, also an ODOT retiree assisting Cobb Engineering, will be inspecting the detour bridges. Goins will be working with Division 2 Engineer David Smith and his crews on four maintenance contracts also awarded at the Commission meeting.

Smith says of the joint effort, "We knew Division One had their plates full and offered to help in any way possible. After discussing options, we realized we could best serve ODOT by offering to take on the maintenance projects."

Those projects will only be done at night and will not interfere with July 4th traffic.

For more information regarding this contract or for detour routes and maps, please visit


(Editors and News Directors: For details about projects in this area, please view the information in the Special Contract Awards/June 12 list posted on the website at For more information, call the ODOT Public Affairs Office at 405-521-6000.)