A contract for nearly $38 million in improvements to U.S. Highway 60 near Pawhuska was awarded Monday during the December meeting of the Oklahoma Transportation Commission.

The contract, which went to Sherwood Construction Co., calls for upgrades along a six-mile stretch of the highway northeast of Pawhuska. Work is expected to take 590 days to complete, state highway officials said. The project area begins two miles east of the US 60/Oklahoma 99 junction and extends eastward for 5.77 miles, the officials added.

OTC members were updated at the meeting about ongoing federal transportation funding issues. Mike Patterson, the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said the uncertainty of federal funding continues to affect all state highway projects.

The federal issue could jeopardize existing highway contracts as well as future state road projects, Patterson said. He added that ODOT officials will be meeting over the next few weeks to determine a plan for continuing the highway projects already under contract and to plot a course for the state in 2014.