GUTHRIE, Okla. — The Oklahoma Transportation Commission has decided that an 80-year-old bridge over a creek in Guthrie will be replaced as part of a continued effort to decrease the number of obsolete bridges in the state.

In 2004, 17 percent of the state’s highway bridges were rated as structurally deficient. That number is now a little less than 5 percent, which are all to be replaced or repaired by the end of the decade.

“Just over a decade ago, Oklahoma had some of the worst bridges in the nation and no funding solution for our major highway needs or asset preservation,” state Transportation Department Executive Director Mike Patterson said. “We have seen great progress and major improvements in recent years, but the budget challenges facing the state mean ODOT will be unable to maintain the pace of progress.”

The Oklahoman ( ) reports that a $17 million contract awarded by commissioners calls for the construction of a four-lane bridge over Cottonwood Creek. The existing two-lane bridge will remain open during the 18-month project.

The commission also approved an updated eight-year construction work plan to upgrade the state’s transportation infrastructure in line with a growing population and increased traffic. The plan calls for nearly $6.4 billion in federal and state transportation funding for 1,616 projects.

Because of state revenue shortages, the Legislature cut $323 million in transportation funding this year, but partially offset that reduction by authorizing $200 million in bond financing.

Information from: The Oklahoman,