When the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority unveils it’s next proposed alignment for its Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike loop, neither route proposed in March will be chosen. Instead a hybrid route will be offered for review. That route will not be made public until the April 14 meeting
“After hearing from many residents, we discovered more issues with terrain and farm use. And altering this route made sense from many different angles,” said Helene Murdock, PE, vice president of Poe & Associates. Her company was hired to manage the entire Driving Forward program to expand the Starr’s turnpike system at a cost of $600 million to be paid for through increased tolls and bonds.
“We looked all through the alignment and looked hard at each area in the pink and the blue proposal,” she said. She said the new information helped guide engineers to re-look at the route to save more farmland and rooftops.
She said issues like utilizing the fire ridge from the 2012 Luther fires played into the re-do of the proposed alignmen, wedges of the land that perhaps has not been rehabilited for residents or farm use. And other issues like the high-mass power lines north of the river hampered plans.
She said the “yellow” route between I-40 and just north of Britton Road will move a few feet here and there, and the new proposed alignment will be a hybrid of the “blue” route that curves up at Britton Road and ends at Hogback at the new exit on the Turner Turnpike; and the “pink” route that curves to the east of that and ends in a proposed new exchange near 164th and Dobbs.
Murdock acknowledged this news is devastating and counteracts the “peace” they were trying to offer back in March when they wanted to share the proposed routes so some residents could abate their worry. Residents now must grapple with the information the route might be back in their path.
She also said that some proposed interchanges will be on the maps unveiled at the Thursday meeting.
And she added, this new route could also be subject to change during this painful phase for landowners.
OTA Eastern Oklahoma County Public Meeting
Thursday, April 14, 2016
6 – 8 p.m.
101 S. Dobbs Rd.
As they say, it’s not final, till it’s final.
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