Betty Garrett of Meeker, who lives in the midst of the four-lane widening project along SH 18, said there’s noise and dirt to contend with daily and more dust on her car and in her home than she’d like, but with patience, she knows there will soon be a nice, new road to enjoy.
“When it affects your life, you wish it was done yesterday,” she said, adding she realizes a job of such magnitude takes time.
Garrett, who was complimentary of the road crews, said they’ve done a good job keeping her driveway graveled and passable throughout the project.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is working on the $7-million paving and widening project that involves 3.8 miles of roadway.
The project includes widening from a two-lane to a four-lane a one-mile section on SH 18 from U.S. 62 south. After that, the road is being widened to include shoulders on both sides of a new two-lane road.
Larry Clore, ODOT spokesman, said while the recent rains have caused some delays in the project that was anticipated to conclude by the end of this month, it appears completion is drawing near, barring any further weather issues.
“They are expecting to be finished in 2-3 weeks,” Clore said. “But a significant rain could slow us down again.”
While many area residents living along SH 18 are ready for the roadway to be finished, one of them said more rain, even if caused a road delay, wouldn’t be so bad for the drought either.
Wayne Anderson said while construction has been a “mess,” road crews have been great about keeping their driveway out of the mud and allowing them in and out of their property with ease.
As far as their yard, Wayne Anderson said crews will put in new grass and ultimately, the roadway will be much nicer.
“It did affect us at first with all the mud,” Earlene Anderson said. “I think they’re doing a good job…it’ll be a much better road when they are through.”
Carylon Davis, who is Garrett’s neighbor, was excited to hear the project is almost complete.
“It’s a little bit of an inconvenience but you’ve got to put up with it to have a better road,” Davis said.
As far as it affecting her while driving, Davis said she’s figured out ways to go around town on side streets to avoid all the construction zones on SH 18.
Her biggest concern right now is more about how the roadway will be in front of her home for parking when the Meeker citywide garage sales take place the weekend of May 11.
Page 2 of 2 - Ladonna and Bill Welborn live on the two-lane portion of the widening project. Ladonna Welborn said they really haven’t experienced any problems with traffic or on their property as a result of all the construction.
“It’s not been that bad,” she said, adding they’re looking forward to the finished product. “I really think it’s going to be a big improvement.”
Debbie Lowe, who said SH 18 is a busy roadway, said there’s been a lot of mud to deal with lately, but it’s mostly just been an inconvenience. Lowe said she’s experienced some difficultly turning left from her driveway onto the roadway because of all the traffic. She’s also noticed that some drivers think the new shoulder is actually a lane for traffic, so she’s hopeful roadway striping comes soon.
Clore said ODOT crews are finishing up asphalt work and some of the concrete-curbing work, which were things that couldn’t be done with recent rains. Finishing up ditch wok is also needed.
The last part of the roadwork will involve striping.
“Once you see that happening,” Clore said it’s getting close to completion.
The roadway includes the new section of four-lane south of the Meeker stop sign, then the roadway will be a “super two-lane,” Clore said, which is a two-lane with wide shoulders.
While some have been curious why the entire area isn’t being made into a four-lane, Clore said a traffic count study revealed a four-lane isn’t warranted on the southern end of the project.
The actual construction of this project began just over a year ago, but the project was in the works well before that.
Garrett said the initial preparations began back in 2006 when residents were first approached about rights-of-way.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.