ODOT seeks comments on plans to widen I-40 to six lanes from Pott. County line to Shawnee
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has unveiled plans for widening Interstate 40 to six lanes from the Oklahoma-Pottawatomie county line to U.S. 177 in Shawnee.
Construction on the first phase of the $77 million, 7.5-mile project is expected to begin in 2022, with completion of the third and final phase expected for 2027.
Plans call for the middle 2.2 miles of the project to be built first, followed by the west 2.5 miles, which is to begin in 2023, and the east 2.7 miles of the project, which is to begin in 2026.
I-40 widening projects in Oklahoma County began earlier and are expected to be complete by the time the Pottawatomie County project is done, said Cody Boyd, spokesman for the Oklahoma Transportation Department.
So motorists will have to put up with construction for several years, but by sometime in 2027 the I-40 corridor should be six lanes all the way from I-240 on the east edge of Oklahoma City to U.S. 177 in Shawnee, he said.
Among the more unusual aspects of the project are plans to construct three roundabouts on McLoud Road near the I-40 interchange.
Design plans call for a roundabout to be built on each side of the interstate, where the I-40 on and off ramps intersect with McLoud Road.
The third roundabout would be built on the north side of the interstate where plans call for a two-way frontage road to be built from McLoud Road east 2 miles to the south leg of State Highway 102, which goes by the Grand Casino Hotel & Resort property.
While roundabouts are not very common in Oklahoma, they are fairly common in many other parts of the world. In a roundabout intersection, one-way traffic moves around a central island, with entering traffic turning right and yielding to circulating traffic already in the roundabout.
Traffic engineers say roundabouts are cost efficient because they eliminate the need for traffic signals. They also say roundabouts are viewed as safe and minimize traffic delays because motorists don't have to stop and wait for a signal to change.
The Bethel Road and Fishmarket Road bridges over I-40 will be reconstructed as part of the project, while two other local bridges will be torn down and eliminated.
The bridges that are being removed are at Arena Road and Blackberry Drive/Stevens Road. Each of those bridges only carried about 30 vehicles a day, so their removal is not expected to impact most people, officials said. The bridges will remain in place until the bridges on Bethel Road and Fishmarket Road have been constructed to minimize traffic disruption.
I-40 passes by the Dale Cemetery, but the cemetery will not be disturbed by the widening project, officials said.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has established a virtual public meeting site at www.odot.org/I40PottawatomieCo where members of the public can go on the Internet to view details of the project and submit comments.