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August 28, 2007

I-35 widening will be ‘a fast track project’

• ODOT officials hold public meeting in Norman

By Carol L. Cole

Transcript Staff Writer

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials detailed an upcoming eight-year, $108 million widening project for Interstate 35 at a public meeting Monday night at Norman’s Holiday Inn.

The 4.2-mile first phase of construction would be to widen I-35 from US 77 to Main Street to six lanes, on the outside of existing lanes. No additional right-of-way acquisition is anticipated.

ODOT has budgeted $9.7 million for the project in fiscal year 2008, and an August letting for first phase construction.

Cobb Engineering is working on the engineering for the first phase.

Marty Hepp, president of Cobb Engineering, said they are hoping to get written comments and input from the public from Monday’s meeting.

In 1989, the Main Street to US 77 stretch of I-35 handled about 60,000 vehicles per day. It handles 99,000 vehicles per day in 2007.

“Norman has grown quite a bit,” Hepp said, noting that during that period, the Tecumseh Road interchange was added.

The Robinson Street and Tecumseh Road interchanges will allow six lanes to pass underneath and will not involve reconstruction, said David Streb, ODOT director of engineering.

Some ramps would need to be modified to make them connect properly.

And the southbound US 77 bridge would be modified to be two lanes. The US 77 bridge northbound going under I-35 would be straightened out somewhat.

“It will feel comfortable, easy to drive,” Streb said.

The second phase from Main Street to SH 9 and the Canadian River, is being studied for environmental impacts by the Benham Company. That phase will require reconstruction of the Main Street and Lindsey Street interchanges and reconstruction of the interchange at SH 9.

Streb said there is a commitment to build a bridge over the interstate at Rock Creek Road, but at this time there are no plans to make it an interchange. It would be a partnership with ODOT and the City of Norman.

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