The Woodward Industrial Foundation held its annual meeting Thursday in the Josie Adams Cultural Center.

A standing room only crowd welcomed several employees of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation as well as guest speaker for the event ODOT Director Gary Ridley.

Ridley addressed the large crowd on several issues pertaining to Oklahoma roads and bridges including legislative bills that, he said, could make great strides in the way roads and bridges are taken care of in Oklahoma. Ridley also addressed several highway projects in the Woodward area and to the south and east.

Those projects include U. S. Highway 412 to the east and U. S. Highway 270 to the southeast.

Ridley said the department would continue working to provide “a corridor to Woodward not only from Oklahoma City but from other areas in the state and nation. Several roadway projects will be started in the fall to help bring more traffic toward Woodward and hopefully help make an economic impact in this area which so many of you have worked so hard for.”

Ridley addressed a portal to Woodward that will open Northwest Oklahoma to not only the rest of the state but also the rest of the nation.

“We are working on a portal to Woodward and I promise that one day you will have a four-lane highway from Woodward to Kansas City, Chicago, California and back east as well,” said Ridley. “The ability is there to hit two interstates coming out of Woodward and this will happen because of the Woodward Industrial Foundation and the people of Northwest Oklahoma have stayed focused and patient throughout this process.”

Several legislative bills were also discussed by Ridley including House Bill 2940, a measure that could change forever the way transportation is funded in Oklahoma.

“When this bill passes we will be able to change the face of this state with this legislation,” said Ridley. “This legislation will impact Oklahoma the way the interstate legislation impacted the nation. This is a time of change and all of you should feel good about what’s going on at the capital and the work that is being done here in northwest Oklahoma.”

Industrial Foundation President Bruce Benbrook also addressed the large crowd about the projects the foundation has been a part of over the past year as well.

“The Woodward Industrial Foundation has been very busy this past year with several projects and has been very involved in several community activities over the past year,” said Benbrook. “Ag research has been very important to the Woodward Industrial Foundation and agriculture remains our base here in Woodward.”

Benbrook talked about the $15 million project that is continuing at the United States Range Research Station.

“Transportation is a key and very important issue for the Industrial Foundation as well as health care and higher education,” Benbrook said. “We are about to break ground on a new $2.5 million assisted living center and a new campus for Northwestern Oklahoma State University Woodward Campus very soon as well.

“Also, we were able to get funding for the Woodward Regional Airport to lengthen the runway and connect several taxi areas there as well to serve the needs of new industry that could come to Woodward. There have been many positive projects in Woodward that the Industrial Foundation has been proud to be part of.”

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