The Norman Transcript

Opinion

March 12, 2013

The importance of I-35

NORMAN — Most residents know the city of Norman takes its name from a railroad survey crew headed by Abner Norman. The town, later a city, grew on each side of the railroad tracks.

Today, that growth is still east-west, but it’s the interstate that divides us geographically. The ongoing construction work reminds us of the road’s importance in Norman’s history.

The bridges over Main Street, Lindsey Street and State Highway 9 East are more than 50 years old and are showing their age. Emergency repairs began Sunday on the Lindsey Street bridge.

Detoured traffic from Main Street is putting a load on the span. City officials say it remains safe to drive over, but some patches are needed to keep it that way until the entire bridge can be replaced in 2016. That’s the same time Lindsey Street will be widened from the interstate to just east of Berry Road.

City officials are looking at some new signage that will help direct interstate travelers to businesses along the highway. The $30 million Main Street bridge and highway widening project has a March 2014 completion date, but a $15,000 a day incentive may get that done earlier.

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