$3 million SH-18 resurfacing project begins between Meeker, Chandler

Kim Morava
The Shawnee News-Star

A $3 million project to resurface SH-18 between Meeker and Chandler has begun, with the project expected to last through September.

The project impacts about 14 miles of roadway through Lincoln County.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reports SH-18 will be intermittently narrowed to one lane, with pilot cars and flaggers directing traffic daily between US-62 in Meeker and SH-66 in Chandler.

"The contractor will only be narrowing SH-18 to one lane during daytime hours and for one or two-mile stretches at a time," said Cody Boyd from ODOT. "Drivers must always be cautious in the work zone – even when work isn’t happening – since the center line and edge lines will only have temporary markings and the driving surface will be uneven as new sections are paved."

During the project, Boyd said the speed limit will be reduced to 45 mph during paving operations, which is critical for motorists to observe since they will be driving in a narrow single lane with workers and equipment near traffic.

Boyd said traffic volumes on SH-18 average about 3,100 vehicles per day between SH-18B and Chandler and about 3,700 vehicles per day between SH-18B and Meeker. During road construction, he said US-377/SH-99 and US-177 are good alternate routes for drivers to take to avoid construction.

The project is already making visible progress in the first week. SH-18 south of SH-18B was last resurfaced in 2002 and SH-18 north of SH-18B was resurfaced in 1999, Boyd said.

Construction crews work along SH-18 north of Meeker. Crews have started a major resurfacing project of nearly 14 miles between Meeker and Chandler. Work is estimated to take about three months.

"This stretch between Meeker and Chandler also received a chip seal treatment by ODOT maintenance crews in 2011 to seal cracks and improve traction, helping to extend the life of pavement until this resurfacing project," he added.

As far as project stages, he said contractors will begin paving on the south end of the project in Meeker and work the northbound lane of SH-18 toward Chandler first, and then will work back toward Meeker in the southbound lane. The project, which is expected to take about two-and-a-half months to complete, weather permitting, is planned for a September completion date, he said.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded the nearly $3 million contract for this project to Haskell Lemon Construction of Oklahoma City.

While the project is ongoing, drivers should plan extra travel time and be prepared to stop, or should use an alternate route to avoid delays, he said. Motorists are also reminded to use extra caution in the work zone and to be alert to reduced speed limit signs and uneven driving surfaces.

Boyd said ODOT is also reminding drivers in July to share the road with motorcycles and commercial trucks.

"Whether driving in a work zone or not, drivers should be mindful that large trucks need more space to maneuver and longer distances to come to a stop, and to watch for motorcycles that could be in a blind spot when turning or changing lanes," he said.

Watch for updates.