Oklahoma Cargo Transportation

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Oklahoma Cargo Transportation
Growth in Freight is a Central Issue for Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is committed to developing and maintaining an integrated surface transportation network that enhances commerce and supports the communities of the State of Oklahoma. As the State’s economy and technology continue to evolve, transporting cargo often includes more than one type, or mode, of transportation. The following modes will be addressed in this report: commercial motor vehicles or trucksrailroads, and ports and waterways.

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Reliable freight transportation enables connection between business and markets in Oklahoma, the United States and the world economy. Because of its geographic location in the central southwest, proximity to markets, and positive business climate, a high quality transportation network is vital to the state’s continued growth and prosperity. From 2015 to 2040, the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Freight Management and Operations projects tonnage to increase on average about 1.6% per year.

Freight Transportation in Oklahoma
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation analyzes freight flows within, through, and into
and out of the State of Oklahoma. Freight flows reflect the most recent year for which consistent and comprehensive data are accessible for each freight mode. This report describes freight flows on major highways, the freight rail network, and also the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) in Oklahoma.

Overview of Freight Flows
A summary of total freight flow volumes, by mode, indicates several points as follows:
• The largest total freight volumes, for all modes combined, occur in the north-south corridor that includes the I-35 truck corridor and the BNSF Railway (BNSF) rail corridor. Those volumes are greatest between the Texas border and Oklahoma City (OKC), where some of the volumes are dispersed in east-west directions.
• Rail freight flows are predominantly in the north-south direction.
• An important question is whether some truck flows could be captured by rail if rail capacity was enhanced.
• A total of 680.7 million tons, or 68.5 percent of all the state’s freight traffic, flows through Oklahoma.
• Most of Oklahoma’s freight, 64.6 percent of total tonnage, is transported by truck.

Oklahoma’s Major Trucking Corridors
Highways are considered as high volume truck corridors (Figure 2) in locations where roadways have consistent truck volumes at or above 5,000 vehicles per day, or on facilities where truck traffic represents 40 percent or more of the total traffic. I-40 truck volumes outside of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area are in the range of 6,000 to 8,000 vehicles per day. In the rural parts of the state, trucks are a larger percentage of total vehicles; in some locations one of every two vehicles on I-40 is a truck. I-40 truck volumes in central Oklahoma exceed 10,000 vehicles per day.

I-35 truck volumes increase from north to south, with the highest peak in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. I-44 truck volumes increase from southwest to northeast with the highest volumes in the northeast corner of the state near Missouri. US 69 crosses the eastern one-third of the state and handles up to 5,400 trucks per day with the highest volumes in Pittsburgh County southwest of McAlester. US 64 and US 287 in the Oklahoma panhandle serve commercial carriers travelling between Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado. Trucks comprise over half of all vehicles on these roadways. Products most commonly transported by commercial motor vehicles in Oklahoma include coal, crude petroleum, cereal grains, gravel, and fertilizer.

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Ports of Entry
On January 22, 2008, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority announced a partnership effort to upgrade Oklahoma’s Port of Entry facilities. These freight Ports of Entry are locations where commercial motors vehicles enter into the state, and pass through a credential and safety inspection checkpoint. Utilizing an estimated $81 million in funding originating from the Oklahoma Petroleum Storage Tank Release Indemnity Program as provided by the Corporation Commission, $11 million from the Turnpike Authority and $4 million from ODOT, the Department set a goal of developing eight new Port of Entry facilities at Oklahoma borders.

Three Ports of Entry have been completed to date. The Ports of Entry on I-35 in Kay County at the Kansas state line and on I-40 in Beckham County at the Texas state line were the first to be completed. A third Port of Entry was recently put into service on I-40 in Sequoyah County at the Arkansas state line. Construction began in July 2015 on the I-35 location in Love County. The remaining locations will be scheduled and advanced to construction as additional fiscal resources accumulate.

Illegally loaded or operated trucks have an adverse impact on the condition of our transportation system and on the safety of the traveling public. These state-of-the-art facilities will establish the front line necessary to create a safer and more informed freight transportation environment on the highway system. By closely monitoring freight ingress at the state line, the appropriate state agencies can better enforce vehicle and freight laws and regulations, ensure proper truck registration, operation and permitting, and enforce weight and size regulations.