Road project moves one step closer

A road project that will provide access to and from Interstate 40 to Yukon could be constructed beginning as early as late 2019, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said at a public meeting Tuesday.

The so-called Frisco Road project is expected to provide access to Frisco Road from I-40. Currently, the road overpasses the interstate without an on- or off-ramp. Brian Taylor, a field engineer with ODOT, said that would change under the nearly $18 million project.

About 75 people turned out for the meeting, which gave residents an opportunity to view displays of the proposed project, as well as an opportunity to comment on the plan.

Taylor said the expansion of the road is needed, allowing for future growth in the area including two major projects – a sports complex and an indoor water park.

Additional development is expected as well, said officials.

The project, which is being funded by a combination of federal, state and local monies, is being designed by Triad Engineering.

During Tuesday’s meeting, officials with Triad said that two designs had been considered. One design would have on- and of- ramps in each direction in a traditional diamond shape. However, that plan would be more expensive and would impact a piece of property that was one of Yukon’s original homesteads, owned by Tony Koubas.

The preferred design would involve on- and off-ramps on I-40 East, but on I-40 West, there would be a loop on the east side of the road for the on-ramp to I-40.

That project would not impact Koubas’ land. In addition, the cost would be reduced. The current budget for the project is $17.4 million.

Taylor said the project would take about 400 days to complete once work begins, and is included in the department’s eight-year plan. It is funded, though that could change based on the department’s budget over the next few years.

The state would use federal highway funds to pay for the majority of the project. Yukon’s portion would be in the $5 million range. A portion of those funds would come from Oklahoma City because a part of the land is in the Oklahoma City city limits.

City Manager Jim Crosby said Yukon’s portion will be funded through bonds.

The project calls for not only the creation of ramps, it would replace the current Frisco Road bridge with a new bridge that would span 380 feet.

Joe Davis, with Triad Design Group, said the hope is that the creation of the Frisco Road interchange will eliminate congestion on Garth Brooks Boulevard, which often backs up because of traffic lights.

While most people at the meeting voiced support for the project, at least one resident voiced concerns about the Frisco Road project taking precedent over work on State Highway 4.

“We’ve got 1,000 new houses coming in, we all know about the fatalities. We know it is a dangerous roadway. We send yellow school buses up and down it every day. At the end of the day we can say we made it another day without another fatality. … We all know it is there. It’s there, and no one is doing anything about it,” said resident Amy Walters. “I think it is wrong to put economic development over public safety.”

Crosby said the SH 4 project is on the city and state lists, and work is underway. However, a key part of that project is to replace three smaller bridges with one larger bridge. That will require at least a small realignment of the highway.

Taylor also said SH-4 is a priority for the state, but it involves three entities – the state, Yukon and Oklahoma City. He also said it is the state’s goal to have the bridgework completed before the Frisco Road project begins.

“It is not happening fast enough,” Walters said.

The public meeting was an opportunity for those affected to give input on the project. However, ODOT officials said anyone can make comment on the project until July 5 at the agency’s website, www.odot.gov. Comments also can be sent to [email protected]

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