Tulsa Man Starts Petition Drive To Fix Highway Intersection

Sunday, October 23rd 2011, 4:57 pm
By: News On 6

Dan Bewley, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A dangerous intersection has a Tulsa man fighting to get it fixed.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation already has plans to change the intersection at 116th Street North and U.S. Highway 75, but it won't happen for another four years.

Friends of a woman who was recently killed there say that's not soon enough.

Lilia Lee was driving to work early on the morning of Saturday, October 15, 2011 when she failed to stop at the intersection of 116th Street North and Highway 75. Her car was hit by a pickup truck; she died at the scene.

"It's just crazy, what happened – unexpected – suddenly," said Daniel Vang.

10/15/2011 Related Story: One Person Killed In Two-Vehicle Highway Crash In Northern Tulsa County

Vang is one of Lilia's good friends.

"She was just overall a great person. She had a positive outlook on life," he said.

Vang says his friend's death could have been prevented, and he's launched an online petition to get the intersection changed.

"Now I do understand that they have slated for some type of construction work to be done," Vang said.

He's right.  ODOT plans to build an overpass so that 116th Street will cross over Highway 75, but construction is not scheduled to begin for another four years.

In the meantime, ODOT has put flashing lights along the highway to warn drivers to slow down.

There are also extra large stop signs on 116th Street which ODOT hopes also get drivers' attention

ODOT says it has begun work on the project, by starting the process of acquiring the necessary right of way and moving the utilities out of the way.  Because that process can take years, actual construction on the overpass is set to begin in 2015.

"Again with construction projects, they do take time to develop," said Kenna Mitchell of ODOT. "They do take time. They take funding. We are trying to work as quickly as we can to get this project done, to get the right of way acquired, utilities relocated so that we can begin the construction process."

Chris Wilson lives in Sperry and drives through the intersection all the time. He hopes Vang's petition gets ODOT to start the project sooner.

"Really wish they'd start tomorrow, to be honest with you," Wilson said.

Vang understands why it will take so long to fix the problem, but he wants someone in power to take notice and prevent another tragedy.

"There needs not be anymore fatal accidents at this particular intersection for them to do something about it," he said.

Until the overpass is built, ODOT is urging drivers to obey the signs and warning devices already in place at the intersection.