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Those driving along Highway 10 in recent weeks may have noticed some ongoing construction – and been delayed by it.
Barry Orendorff, assistant resident manager for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said the work is part of the Cherokee County Safety Improvement Project.
“The upgrades along Highway 10 include cable barriers and guard rails,” he said. “It is about 22 percent complete.”
Installation of cable barriers, or guard cables, has become a popular alternative to erecting hard concrete or metal barriers. The cables and posts are less expensive and disperse more energy when struck.
Orendorff said the original length of the construction contract was 60 days, and that about 40 days remain.
“Taking weather delays into account, we expect the work to be completed by the end of October,” he said.
The improvements will be made on Highway 10 for five miles north from U.S. Highway 62 and from Highway 51 extending north on U.S. 62 for 5 miles. Orendorff listed the project cost as $949,013.34.
“As always, we want to remind drivers to use caution when driving through work zones,” Orendorff said. “Please watch for the workers. During this projects, drivers might experience short delays. We are employing flaggers to assist traffic.”
Orendorff said other projects are planned along the Illinois River, though no construction dates have been set. Such projects include the Combs Bridge replacement and relocation, and bank stabilization work two miles north of U.S. 62, at Hanging Rock and at Black Fox Creek.
Combs Bridge has been designated as structurally unsound, and the stabilization projects will help to reduce erosion and the flow of pollution into the river.
S.H. 10, while one of the most scenic routes in all of Oklahoma, is also one of the most dangerous. Law enforcement officers have long complained that the roadway’s proximity to the river and its recreation results in a greater incidence of DUI arrests and accidents.
Drivers can also be distracted by the beauty along a road which includes many sharp turns.
ODOT designated Highway 10 as one of four hazardous corridors in Cherokee County, and in 2012 local law enforcement and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol declared them “safety” corridors.
Speed limits are enforced with a policy of no-tolerance, and officers patrolling the roads are vigilant for drivers under the influence.