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City of Yukon, church reach land deal

Yukon Mayor Michael McEachern congratulates the winners of the Mayor’s Essay Contest, which was held in December as part of the Mayor’s Christmas Party. The winners were Ethan Thomas, first place, Axel Rowley, third place, and Preston Risinger, second place. This year’s theme was “My favorite Christmas song.” Photo/Terry Groover

A much anticipated project that will add on- and off-ramps on Interstate 40 at Frisco Road took a major step forward Tuesday.

The Yukon City Council voted to pay the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and St. John Nepomuk Catholic Church in Yukon $26,500 for three pieces of property.

The land will be used for rights of way, and will allow utilities to be relocated. Those utilities include an inactive oil well and oil and gas transmission lines.

The property is south of Interstate 40 and east of Frisco Road. It also is on both sides of NW 23 Street.

City Manager Jim Crosby said the city has now acquired all of the easements it needs for the project to move forward.

Oklahoma City still has three pieces of land that it needs to obtain on the west side of Frisco Road. These properties are owned by the Kouba family and the Wright family.

Crosby said negotiations for those rights-of-way are ongoing, but should be obtained in plenty of time for the project to be bid later this year.

Construction on the interchange is expected to begin in early 2020.

The project is seen as a major event for Yukon because it will open section of land for commercial development. It is the last area of Yukon near the interstate that is being eyed for development.

The city’s planning commission is scheduled to meet next week to review plans that would rezone several acres of land in that area from residential and agricultural property to commercial.

The property owner, Rick Opitz, is asking that a portion of the land be zoned C-5, which would allow for hotels, as well as C-3, which would limit what could be constructed in the area.

Crosby said there are several companies looking to develop in that area. However, it is unlikely that anyone will commit to locating along that stretch of roadway until “dirt turns” on the interchange project.

Yukon already has done significant work in the area in preparation for the interchange project, including widening a portion of Frisco Road and realigning Vandament.

Both of those projects were completed over the last few months.

In addition, construction of a feeder road, which would limit how drivers access Frisco Road and Vandament, is ongoing as is work to help improve drainage in a nearby neighborhood.

Elsewhere, Crosby said all of the easement have been obtained for work to move forward on the replacement of three bridges on State Highway 4

At least four utilities are in the process of relocating their lines. They include Oklahoma Gas and Electric, Cox Communications, Oklahoma Natural Gas and DCP.

Crosby previously said it could take 300 days for the gas lines to be relocated.

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