Turnpike projects on hold pending lawsuit outcome

turnpikeThe state’s proposed extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike is currently on hold until a court battle challenging the turnpike authority’s bonding authority is resolved.

“At this time, pretty much all activity is on hold pending the outcome of the litigation in the State Supreme Court,” said Jack Damrill of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

The director of communications & facilities referred to the lawsuit filed Aug. 19 by Oklahoma City attorney Jerry R. Fent. In this case, Fent alleges the authority’s is violating a constitutional provision against logrolling by combining financing for four proposed turnpike projects as part of their “Driving Forward” initiative totaling $480
million.

In 2009, Fent prevailed in a state Supreme Court challenge of a bill that lumped Capitol building improvements together with other projects in a bond package.

This time, Fent reports he was contacted by concerned eastern Oklahoma County residents, where one of the four turnpike projects is slated. Just like many other property owners impacted by the projects, they are concerned their property will be lost through eminent domain to make way for the new roadways.

“There is not much to report,” Damrill said. “Once the court comes back with a decision on validation of our bond sale, we will continue the right-of-way negotiations and the design work.”

“We do not have a time table on any of that.”

According to court records, the Supreme Court currently has no upcoming hear dates and the last activity on the case was in early October. The OTA has requested a 12 percent rate hike to cover the new bonds for the turnpike projects.

Despite the opposition, the OTA is standing behind their Driving Forward campaign.

Director Tim Gatz said, “Interstate volumes are not going to decrease. They’re just not. We probably should have started some of these reliever route projects 10 years ago, 15 years ago.”

“We realize that those aren’t houses, they’re families,” Gatz said. “We’re asking them to make an extreme sacrifice… This is what we have to do. We’ve got to continue to make these kinds of investments and be forward-thinking.”

For more information on the turnpike projects, visit www.drivingforwardok.com.

2 Comments

  1. Harry Sophman on March 12, 2017 at 3:42 am

    Take a look at the planned route of the Kilpatrick. It will have to be 85% or more, one long bridge crossing SW 15th, beside a middle school. Continuing on beside a new addition just built I/2 mike south of 15th, crossing Sara then SW 29th. Proceeding behind a new middle school S of 29th & Sara. Proceeding South, crossing SW 44th. It may come to ground level between new additions where it connects with the new Hwy 152 or Airport road as it’s called. I’ve lived in the area (15th & Morgan) for 21 years. The only one served are people coming from western Ok. Meridian where the eateries and hotels are located has just been widened to accommodate traffic to the airport. To my knowledge, there has never been a back up as one could drive a mile east, catch I-44 to Airport road going west then exit at Meridian.
    From the drawings, the Kilpatrick was supposed to continue south next to Sara Rd when it would hook in to 152. State hwy 4 is there. It continues to the Lawton exit on the Commanche Turnpike. Or I-44. Also connecting with state Hwy 9 to I-40 N or South close to the OU campus. It was a perfect alleviation of traffic going to Lawton, Norman and on S to Dallas. They somehow let housing projects be built along Sara Rd where the Kilpatrick was supposed to run. The Hwy 4 152 junction is also airport road and could have handled thst small amount of additional traffic
    And would been a business bonanza to Mustang. Someone needs to be held accountable. One can look at the current map and see where the Kilpatrick ends. One can see the potential of extending it to Hwy 152 & 4.
    Bad bad planning. I say SCRAP the extension bridge to nowhere. Two schools will hear Jake breaks all day as well as all the new homeowners. Shameful.

  2. Harry Sophman on March 12, 2017 at 3:48 am

    Take a look at the planned route of the Kilpatrick. It will have to be 85% or more, one long bridge crossing SW 15th, beside a middle school. Continuing on beside a new addition just built I/2 mile south of 15th, crossing Sara then SW 29th. Proceeding behind a new middle school S of 29th & Sara. Proceeding South, crossing SW 44th. It may come to ground level between new additions where it connects with the new Hwy 152 or Airport road as it’s called. I’ve lived in the area (15th & Morgan) for 21 years. The only one served are people coming from western Ok. Meridian where the eateries and hotels are located has just been widened to accommodate traffic to the airport. To my knowledge, there has never been a back up as one could drive a mile east, catch I-44 to Airport road going west then exit at Meridian.
    From the drawings, the Kilpatrick was supposed to continue south next to Sara Rd when it would hook in to 152. State hwy 4 is there. It continues to the Lawton exit on the Commanche Turnpike. Or I-44. Also connecting with state Hwy 9 to I-40 N or South close to the OU campus. It was a perfect alleviation of traffic going to Lawton, Norman and on S to Dallas. They somehow let housing projects be built along Sara Rd where the Kilpatrick was supposed to run. The Hwy 4 152 junction is also airport road and could have handled thst small amount of additional traffic
    And would been a business bonanza to Mustang. Someone needs to be held accountable. One can look at the current map and see where the Kilpatrick ends. One can see the potential of extending it to Hwy 152 & 4.
    Bad bad planning. I say SCRAP the extension bridge to nowhere. Two schools will hear Jake breaks all day as well as all the new homeowners. Shameful.

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