New Turnpike Routes Approved
KFOR - July 12, 2022 8:35 am
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Transportation Commission voted 7-1 to approve the turnpike routes as part of the $5 billion, 15-year ACCESS Oklahoma plan.
Protestors gathered outside the Oklahoma Department of Transportation building well before their 11 a.m. meeting, hoping that wouldn’t be the decision.
“It’s very frustrating to get up one day and realize that they want to kick you out of your homes so toll road developers can build another highway,” said Dave Moore, a protestor outside the Department of Transportation building Monday morning.
“It is time for the people of Oklahoma to stand up and say, we don’t need more toll roads,” said Darla Leblanc, another protestor outside of the Department of Transportation building Monday morning. “We need to improve the infrastructure that currently exists. Our roads are terrible. Our bridges are horrid.”
In the agenda for that meeting, the department said they completed a review of the routes and believes they will “significantly enhance the safety and functionality of the existing transportation system.”
In the end, they gave their recommendation.
One of the routes will start at the John Kilpatrick Turnpike at Highway 152 and goes to I-44. Another route starts in the I-44 Tri City area of Newcastle, Blanchard and Tuttle and sends it to the Kickapoo Turnpike.
The third route sends the turnpike all the way down to I-35 near Purcell. More information on the routes can be found on page 86 of the meeting agenda linked here.
Protestors like Leblanc, though, said her family’s home is right in the path of this construction.
“It’s going to go straight through our living room,” she said. “I have three young children, a family. They’re going to bulldoze our home.”
The department also noted that the routes will help with congestion on highways and reduce the number and severity of accidents that happen. However, protestors said it isn’t worth it, and they flat out don’t want it with fears of being displaced.
“I’m hoping that at some point somebody’s in a position of authority is going to say, ‘you’re right, we screwed this up,’” Moore said.
The routes are still subject to any refining or changes they may need.