Nearly $38 million in improvements to U.S. Highway 60 northeast of town are included in a contract awarded last week during the December meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

The project calls for upgrades along a stretch of the highway that begins two miles to the east of the U.S. 60 junction with state highway 99 and extend eastward for 5.77 miles, said officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Construction designs include grading, drainage, bridge and surface improvements — with widening of the roadway being a primary concern.

Work on the project is expected to take 590 days from its start to completion, ODOT officials added.

Recipient of the contract was Sherwood Construction Co., a Wichita-based company that also operates out of Catoosa. Currently, Sherwood is also involved with a $63 million project on on Interstate 40 in Oklahoma City, as well as a $7 million taxiway improvement at Tulsa International Airport.

Also during the Dec. 9 meeting, OTC members were updated about ongoing federal transportation funding issues.

ODOT Executive Director Mike Patterson said uncertainty over federal funding and the record low balance in the U.S. Highway Trust Fund is continuing to affect all of the state’s highway projects.

The federal issue could jeopardize existing highway contract as well as future state road projects, Patterson said. He added that ODOT officials will be meeting frequently in coming weeks as they develop a plan to insure the continuation of highway projects that are already under contract and attempt to plot the state’s course for 2014.