The $7-million paving and widening project affecting nearly four miles of SH 18 north of Shawnee and through Meeker continues and isn't expected to be complete until Spring.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is working the project in Lincoln County, with work beginning at County Road 108 and going 3.8 miles north to U.S. 62.
ODOT Spokesman Larry Clore, who said the project is set for completion in early Spring, weather permitting, said crews are currently doing dirt work for the widening as well as storm drainage work.
"In about two to three months, they'll be laying asphalt," Clore said.
The project includes widening from a two-lane to a four-lane a one-mile section of SH 18 from U.S. 62 going south. After that, the road is being widened to include shoulders on both sides of a new two-lane road, Clore said, as the shoulders are intended to make it safer.
The construction, although part of the day-to-day life for months now, affects residents, commuters and even business owners in the area.
The Clifton Café, which sits nearly at the intersection of SH 18 and U.S. 62, is in an area where a lot of work is currently being done.
Dave Helseth, the general manager, said with construction crews and a crane outside their front door, it has affected business. While he said they still see many faithful customers, he said many new customers might not see them or stop by because they're avoiding the area of road construction.
"I understand progress helps bring more traffic through," he said, adding they're relying on the marquee, as well as word-of-mouth in a small town, to keep business up. In addition, they too have to drive through the area on routine basis.
And while they try to overlook the work until it's complete, "In the meantime, it's not fun," he said.
"We'll trudge on through — as they build it, they will come," Helseth said, predicting more traffic when the new four-lane road is complete.
For Deana Woods, the owner of LaDonna's Grill a further south, she said the construction crews keep their driveway entrance clear and the work really hasn't changed business anymore than other factors do.
"Being in a small down, other things can happen," she said, indicating people going to Oklahoma City for the state fair has impacted business.
And while they might see bigger crowds during a home football game in Meeker, they'll also see fewer crowds during away games, she said.
As for the construction, the benefits will come later. Until then, there's a lot of dirt work and equipment moving around the area.
"We'll live with it," Woods said.
Page 2 of 2 - As the project continues, Clore said drivers may face temporary areas of the road that could be an inconvenience as crews work through the project, but no detours off SH 18 are expected.
Watch for updates.