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Widening To Remove More than 50 Homes

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Imagine being told you have just a few months to leave the house, the house you and your family have called "home" for years. That's the reality facing more than 50 Tulsa families. The I-44 expressway is being widened to six lanes, which will result in demolishing more than 50 homes and some businesses on the east side of 45th and Yale.

Bill Taylor reminisces about his home as the reality sinks in that in a few months he will lose it forever. "We've got so many little things here that we did, that mean something to us, but we can do that again. It will work out," he said. Taylor says he's not bitter, although he's lived in the home for 28 years and doesn't want to start over. He admits he knew something like this could happen when he moved next to an expressway. Taylor lives just east of the Yale and I-44 interchange.

Many residents are worried they won't receive what their homes are worth from the state. Ed Kellog with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation says that won't happen. "The system is designed so a person can move into comparable or better housing with no financial loss," he said. Ralph Oliver is raising his family in a home that belonged to his grandmother. His house won't be demolished, but the expressway will run right in front of his yard. "It's really tough because I'm worried about is it going to increase traffic in our neighborhood, people trying to escape the freeway and traffic jams it'll cause over here," he said.

Oliver is also worried about the noise factor. A noise wall was supposed to be placed in front of the homes but Kellog says that probably won't happen. "The preliminary indications are a noise wall won't correct the problem out there," he said. Kellog also says the state will do some beautification work to make the area look pleasing to neighbors.

A couple of businesses will also be forced to move. Kellog advises there is a possibility of homes being taken out on the west side of Yale as well. Most residents of the area say widening the expressway needs to happen, they just wish it wasn't at their expense. The homes in the expressway widening area should be appraised later this summer. The residents will have 90 days to move after notification. Construction should begin on the Yale interchange in the year 2001.
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