Tahlequah Daily Press

July 26, 2013

ODOT hosts meeting on highway plans

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — About 190 people turned out for a Thursday meeting hosted by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation about future plans for State Highway 82.

Frank Roesler III, public involvement specialist for ODOT, led the meeting, which included presentations by Jenny Sallee and Kirsten McCollough of Garver, a consulting firm.

ODOT is requesting public input on four options for rerouting S.H. 82 between north Tahlequah and West 710 Road, and two options for off-setting the highway slightly east or west between West 710 Road and Gideon.

Sallee said options to widen the existing route were not feasible due to concerns about driveway access to the highway and impact to utility services.

“We have evaluated these alternatives for right-of-way, utility and environmental impacts,” she said. “We have also assessed construction costs.”

People attending the meeting were given a folding map which showed the proposed routes for the two projects, designated north and south. North routes are designated Alternate 7, which offsets the highway east, and Alternate 8, which offsets west. Estimated cost for each is $17.5 million and $ 19.1 million, respectively.

South routes, designated Alternate 1, Alternate 1A, Alternate 3 and Alternate 5, deviate farther from the current highway.

Alternate 1 calls for a northwesterly deviation beginning near the intersection with Grand Avenue and Wheeler Road, creating a more direct route to West 710 Road. It is the most expensive option, with an estimated cost of $52.7 million. But preliminary impact estimates anticipate the lowest environmental and utility impacts. It is neither the most or least impactful in terms of right-of-way needs.

Alternate 1A would route the southernmost portion of the proposed highway slightly more westward before returning to the Alternate 1 plan just north of Highway 51 Spur. Estimated expense is $48.9 million and right-of-way, utility and environmental impacts are expected to be low.

Alternate 3 calls for offsetting the highway west of the current route before turning northwest between West Woodard Road and West Jones Road. It is the least expensive alternative with an expected cost of $46.8 million. The route would highly impact utilities. Of the options, Alternate 3’s right-of-way needs and environmental impact are moderate.

Alternate 5 also offsets to the west before turning west-northwest to the north of West Jones Road. Expected cost is $51.3 million. It would have the highest combined impact on right-of-way, utilities and the environment.

Most of the concerns of the meeting addressed right-of-way issues. Roesler said all of the south project options would require property acquisitions, meaning some people would have to move.


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