Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

March 12, 2014

Tahlequah's Tomorrow

Project on Fourth Street to ease congestion

TAHLEQUAH — Expansion on East Fourth Street is causing a few hiccups for area drivers, but city officials believe the result will be an important first step in “Tahlequah’s Tomorrow.”

When all is said and done in about four months, the stretch of Fourth Street tucked between Basin and Muskogee avenues will have transformed from a two-lane road to three lanes.

Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols said a turn lane will be installed to ease traffic problems, and a median will be built near the street’s intersection with Park Hill Road. The median should put a stop to drivers who turn west onto Fourth Street off of Park Hill Road – a practice that has long been prohibited, but is often ignored.

Construction kicks off the first of several street projects included in last year’s $20-plus-million capital improvements plan, referred to now as “Tahlequah’s Tomorrow.” As work progresses, various portions of the street will likely be closed to traffic.

“You can still visit your favorite businesses that are in this area, you may just have to make a slight detour that takes you another block,” said Nichols.

We believe businesses here will be happier when the work is complete and gives their customers easier access.”

Terry Keys, of T&K Construction, was hired to complete the project for about $343,000. Keys said the narrow street design that exists on the targeted piece of East Fourth Street will cause occasional, if not frequent, closures to traffic.

“What you’re dealing with is a lot of Tahlequah’s streets are so narrow, and with the expansion project we still don’t have enough room to travel two cars side by side,” said Keys. “We’ll try to open it up when we can, but like today, we had to shut it down because of the trackhoe work.”

According to Nichols, East Fourth Street’s expansion is part of a larger plan to widen both Fourth Street and Allen Road to three lanes from bypass to bypass.

“Both are our only uninterrupted thoroughfares that run east to west,” said Nichols.

We realize street projects will be somewhat of an inconvenience, but as Tahlequah grows, we’ll be seeing new types of construction that we haven’t seen in years. We want to improve safety and capacity both.”

Other upcoming street projects include widening Muskogee Avenue, south from Fourth Street, to five lanes; and widening West Fourth Street.

Of the street projects included in last year’s bond issue, East Fourth Street is the first to begin and will be the first completed.


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