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Sara Road widening project slated for fall

Sara Road is still in the makeover process after the City of Mustang teamed up with the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
The authority will award a bidder a contract August 24 for widening Sara Road from SW 29th Street to State Highway 152, with construction to follow.
“We agreed to fund half the construction,” said Joe Echelle, authority maintenance, engineering and construction assistant executive director. “It provides a vital connector for Mustang to the John Kilpatrick Turnpike, which is in the turnpike’s interest.”
Justin Battles, Assistant City Manager of Mustang, said the current construction of Sara Road is not a part of the Turnpike Authority’s future project.
“It’s just a temporary overlay because we were having so many base failures and because the turnpike authority had continued to push the let date. Initially this was supposed be let in 2020,” Battles said.
Echelle said the authority has been waiting on rights from the two cities involved to be turned in.
“Both Mustang and Oklahoma City, would purchase the right of ways necessary for the project in their areas,” he said. “As well as pay for the utility relocations or coordinate those utility relocations. Those items are what we have been waiting for to get to construction. Just recently, Oklahoma City and Mustang have both provided us notification that they have all the necessary right of ways and moved all the necessary utilities for us to put the project on a ‘project letting.’”
Battles said Mustang had to buy 38 easement parcels to make way for construction with money raised from a 2016 approved bond making the city sales tax rise by 1%.
“There is already an existing road easement,” Battles said. “When you look at making a two-lane to a four-lane, we own quite a bit in the terms of what the road easement is already. On some parcels, it might have been 5 more feet, but on some parcels it was more.”
Battles said the city negotiated with each property owner about acquiring more land to widen the road. There were no court alterings in Mustang.
“That’s the way we feel it’s best resolved,” he said. “I know Oklahoma City had to go to court on a couple of parcels.”
Battles said the city paid around $800,000 for more easement parcels.
Echelle said Mustang and Oklahoma City paid for all the design costs and the turnpike authority is paying for half of the construction.
The total project will cost slightly more than $14 million.
Contractors can start bidding August 10, according to the 2021-2022 Letting Schedule on the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s website. Echelle said they hope to get a contractor selected to begin construction soon after bidding opens.
“We’ll award it at the end of August with anticipation to go to construction this fall – probably, October or November,” he said.
The project timeline is two years, but the contractor can get paid more through an incentive that will be included on the contract, Echelle said.
History shows the turnpike was originally set to go through Mustang. An extension to the John Kilpatrick Turnpike south of I-40 connecting to State Highway 152 was one of the commitments, as part of the Driving Forward program, Echelle said.
“Going back a really long time, all the way back 30 years ago or so, the thought was the Kilpatrick Turnpike continues down somewhere down to the Bailey Turnpike,” he said. “… But because of the immense amount of development in Mustang and because of all the houses, all the commercial development that’s happened there, it no longer became feasible for the turnpike authority to build the turnpike through Mustang.”
The turnpike
authority built the current John Kilpatrick Turnpike where it is now. Echelle said the authority partnered with Mustang to widen Sara Road to help residents have an easier access to the turnpike.
Residents must stay aware whenever
construction starts because the traffic will be moved frequently, he advised.
“It will be a dangerous location,” Echelle said. “We just want everybody to try to pay attention and be safe as they come through our workzones.”

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