ODOT Looks To Improve Busy, Dangerous Rogers County Road

Tuesday, May 12th 2015, 11:06 pm
By: News On 6

The state is reevaluating the findings of a 15-year-old study of a highly traveled road in Rogers County.

The segment of State Highway 20, which includes Keetonville Hill, isn't in the best shape, and Tuesday night the public got a chance to talk about fixing it.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation's main goal is to improve safety and traffic flow; and the people living in the area want to get the work started, because some feel their lives are in danger.

Sue Ingle joined her neighbors Tuesday to talk about the stretch of highway plagued with issues.

“Should there be a fire on Keetonville Road, I would have no way to get out," she said.

The lanes on Keetonville Hill are narrow, there is no shoulder and more than 12,000 vehicles travel the route every single day.

And that part of Rogers County is getting any smaller. In the next several years, ODOT expects traffic to increase to almost 20,000 vehicles, daily.

"It is one of the most dangerous strips of highway in the state of Oklahoma and it needs to be addressed," said firefighter Rick Phelps.

Tuesday ODOT addressed it and presented a crowd with improvements that would include widening the roadway to four lanes with a center turn lane.

ODOT engineer, Randle White said, "We've seen a lot of growth and use on this highway, it's a safety concern."

"We respond to so many accidents and the hill is responsible for that," Phelps said.

Many take detours that add 30 minutes to their commute just to avoid the area.

"In fact, I have family members that don't even bother to drive to my house ‘cause it takes too long to get there," Ingle said.

ODOT knows it is a problem, and admits the challenge it faces when trying to deal with the geology of the hill, but that's why engineers are thankful for the crowd.

"Things change over the years, so that is why we are hoping to get info from them that will help us further the project," White said.

The cost for the entire project - which, in total, spans 24 miles - is $53 million. Construction is projected to start in 2017.