ODOT Makes Plans To Make Okmulgee Co. Intersection Safer
OKMULGEE COUNTY, Oklahoma - ODOT said it has a plan to make a dangerous Okmulgee County intersection safer. It revealed the proposal at a packed meeting Tuesday.
One woman said the community has wanted to make the intersection of Highway 75 and Preston Road safer for decades, and now ODOT has a plan to do that.
“When the 18-wheeler fell on its side last year, that was scary,” said Anna Lewis.
Lewis is just one of many residents of Preston and surrounding communities speaking up at an ODOT open house about how dangerous the intersection is.
“I had four grandchildren hit,” a woman said. “Their father was going cross the highway and they were hit.”
ODOT said the intersection of HW 75 and Preston Road has seen more than 30 injury and 2 deadly crashes in the past 10 years.
It expects the number of vehicles using the highway every day to up by 15,000 in the next 30 years.
ODOT’s proposal is to build a bridge for Preston Road over HW 75, with on and off ramps connecting the roads.
“We’ve said if there are lights coming, just don't go,” said Leah Gruns. “People don't slow down; they don’t obey the signs.”
Leah Gruns moved to Preston about a year ago and said she’s seen several crashes too. She said the sight distance is limited, and the flashing signs aren’t enough.
“I just saw the plans today. They look really good,” Gruns said.
Attendees said the downside is that the proposed plan will knock out some local businesses, like a gas station and feed store.
“It’s going to impact people,” said ODOT engineer Jamie Malmstrom. “They don’t want to give up businesses.”
ODOT said it has a relocation plan to help them move.
“People have gotten killed on that intersection,” Lewis said. “Losing a store is a small price to pay.”
ODOT is taking public comment until February 11.
If the plans are approved, construction would start in 2024 and take about two years to complete.