The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority plans to make some changes to the Stroud Service Plaza, the unofficial halfway point between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.
The OTA said some of the reasons for the big change are safety issues, more people on the road, and more parking. But some drivers said they want to see the travel stop stay as it is. But the OTA said the stop in Stroud has outgrown itself.
"That plaza has just become really unsafe," said Jack Damrill, Director of Communications for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
The OTA said they've seen an increase in both semi and passenger traffic between the states two largest cities. The travel stop was built in 1987 when traffic was half as heavy as it is now and the speed limit was 55 MPH. Now the speed limit is possibly headed toward 80 MPH.
"Our plans are to split that service plaza into two. So we will have a service plaza both eastbound and westbound. The eastbound travel plaza will be about 4 miles to the west of the current Stroud plaza," said Damrill.
And some truck drivers told News On 6 parking is a big problem.
"Parking is a huge issue and this is one of the few in this part of the country that you can," said Michael Adams, a truck driver.
The OTA said they are addressing those concerns.
"We will have 125 at each additional spot so we'll have 125 at Chandler and we'll have 125 at Stroud," said Damrill.
When all is said and done, the current Stroud Plaza will be renovated and will only serve Westbound traffic headed to Oklahoma City. The new travel stop near Chandler will serve people heading to Tulsa. But some Truck Drivers said they just want the travel stop to remain as is.
"It's fine the way it is as far as I know," said Robert Seigart, a truck driver.
The OTA also said the new system is also going to save people money.
“After the travel plaza is built they’ll only be paying $4 when they are currently paying $9 so it will save them money, yes it’s a bit of an inconvenience but in the long run they’ll save money,” said Damrill.
Damrill said changes to a part of the roadway will happen as well.
“We’re gonna straighten out the road at Stroud. So currently, if you are traveling from Tulsa to Oklahoma City and you go through that travel plaza you have to dogleg to the right around the plaza. In addition to that, not only dogleg to the right but traffic merges from left to right. We’re gonna take that roadway we’re gonna shift it straight so you will not have to dogleg to the right anymore and then we will change the merging pattern to go from right to left instead of left to right,” he said.
The OTA said they will start renovating the Stroud Service Plaza around mid-2020 to late 2020 and hope to have it opened sometime in 2021.
The travel stop in Chandler is expected to be completed by the end of the year.