The city also paved 10-foot shoulders on both sides of the roadway, which serve as bike lanes.
While Norman was planning the 60th Avenue project with ODOT, Oklahoma City was planning a companion project on Western Avenue — the same roadway alignment as 60th Avenue, but a different name — from Indian Hills Road to 134th Avenue (SH-37).
“It is my understanding that Oklahoma City is now ready to begin their portion of the highway improvement on Western Avenue,” O’Leary said. “A few years ago, ODOT had planned to designate this five miles of roadway as State Highway 77H, which is why ODOT has collaborated with both Norman and Oklahoma City on the improvements.
“In 2008, ODOT opted not to establish the state highway designation and instead to allow Norman and Oklahoma City to continue to own and maintain the roadway in exchange for the funding to make these improvements,” he said.
O’Leary said the importance of these companion projects is that they provide a 5-mile improved highway connection between Norman and Oklahoma City.
With I-35 construction projects planned for the future, the 60th Avenue/Western Avenue connection will provide an important alternate route. That link between the cities could grow in importance as the area develops.
“You’ve got several housing plats planned out there as well. There’s no doubt its a growth area,” Woods said. “That square-mile area offers us one of the best opportunities to bring those retail dollars into Norman.”
The addition of the Andy Alligator’s water park has made the location a destination for longer stays.
“People come from as far down as north Texas and play for the day,” said Andy Alligator’s general manager, Kyle Allison. “They may even stay in a Norman hotel and come back the next day.”
Andy Alligator, Hey Day, 405 Bicycles and Alpha Gynmnastics are locally owned.