According to news reports, Tim Gatz (seen above) –who is already slated to become Oklahoma’s secretary of transportation – will become director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation after the agency’s currency leader, Mike Patterson, retires on April 1.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission tapped Gatz to head up the Oklahoma DOT on Feb. 12.
Gatz, who has served as the executive director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority since June of 2016, spent more than 20 years of his transportation career at the Oklahoma DOT, serving as the agency’s deputy director from 2013 to 2016.
He explained in a news channel interview back in January that “safe and efficient transportation infrastructure of all types supports our families, communities, and commerce” and that he “looks forward to a collaborative and innovative role working with the excellent team he [Gov. Stitt] has assembled.”
[Editor’s note: Gatz provided some insight into the value of “alternative” funding strategies for future highway when he testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in May of 2017 during an informational hearing dubbed “Leveraging Federal Funding; Innovative Solutions for Infrastructure.”]
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma DOT is expanding its work zone accident response fleet by two trucks. Originally introduced in August 2018 as part of its I-235 widening project, GO-DOT trucks assist drivers stranded in the work zone by moving them to a safe location.
This new effort will see GO-DOT’s patrol vehicles deployed on Oklahoma City’s busiest interstates and aims to have two more vehicles deployed on roadways in the Tulsa metro area in the near future.
The addition of extra GO-DOT trucks comes as the Oklahoma DOT recently signed the Oklahoma Traffic Incident Management charter, which involves 30 organizations – including the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, local fire and police departments, plus tow truck companies – focused on improving safety protocols for those responding to roadway incidents.
Traffic incident management is currently taught in technical schools, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol academy and Oklahoma DOT-sponsored training sessions, the agency noted.