OKC backs out of I-40 interchange project

Plans to build on- and off-ramps from Interstate 40 to Frisco Road in Yukon have hit a snag after the city of Oklahoma City backed out of plans to purchase about 5 acres of right-of-way that are needed for the project to move forward.
The right-of-way is needed so that several utilities can be moved and the road widened as part of the project.
The pieces of property are owned separately by Tony Kuobas and the Wright family. The land is in Oklahoma City and were the subject of a condemnation action filed by that city earlier this year.
However, Oklahoma City has since withdrawn its condemnation action after an appraisal set the property value at more than $12 per square foot for property owned by the Wright family. The value of the 1.1 acres of property was set at $661,125.96
The 3.23 acres of property owned by Koubas was also valued at more than $12 per foot, bringing the total to more than $2.8 million.
City Manager Jim Crosby said he was surprised by the appraisal numbers. Appraisals on nearby property were significantly below those values.
Crosby met with the Yukon City Council for about 30 minutes Tuesday in an executive session to discuss the latest development and to seek a direction in which to proceed.
The project, which is being funded through a combination of local, state and federal funds, was expected to cost about $17 million. However, Yukon’s portion of those expenses already has climbed significantly higher than anticipated.
The relocation of two utility lines was expected to cost about three times what was originally anticipated. The higher costs are related to the expense of boring through the I-40 overpass at Frisco Road.
Crosby said after Tuesday’s city council meeting that the city is hoping to negotiate a better price for the Wright and Koubas properties.
The interchange project will add on- and off-ramps to Frisco Road, which is seen as the final area for commercial development along Interstate 40 inside the Yukon city limits.
The project is expected to go to bid in January with construction beginning in the spring.
Officials said they expect the work to take between a year and 18 months.
In preparation for the project, the city has already spent several million dollars realigning Vanadment Avenue and widening a portion of Frisco Road from State Highway 66 about a half mile to the south.
In addition, the city has improved drainage in the area in preparation for what officials anticipate will be a significant commercial development.
The property in that area already has been zoned for commercial businesses.

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