$44 Million Highway Project Between Owasso, Claremore Approved

Friday, December 11th 2020, 6:26 pm

Construction crews are about to begin a large project along Keetonville Hill between Owasso and Claremore.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved the $44 million project this week. State and city leaders have been talking about these changes for a couple of decades now.

They said Keetonville Hill has a reputation for being a dangerous stretch of road.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been considering massive changes to Highway 20 for a while. They said right now, the north side of Keetonville Hill is high maintenance. State leaders said landslides happen often, causing debris to fall onto the road, and the roadway itself to slip and erode.

Claremore City Manager John Feary said there are also a lot of wrecks.

"It's got some curves through it and over the years there have been some nasty accidents,” Feary said.

ODOT is planning to make a smoother curve that bypasses the winding road and reconnects to the existing Highway. Crews will also work on improving and widening the highway, making a path to the southeast to link to Route 66 and help ease traffic.

"As you know, we have historic Route 66 through town, lots of stoplights, and two major train crossings, this is something that's going to help Claremore and Rogers County, and it's been desperately needed," Feary said.

This is all after years of public debate on how to make ODOT's vision happen

In 2017, hundreds of people gave input, and Feary said the state approached some homeowners to buy their land.

He said the state changed its designs over the years so fewer neighbors would be affected. Now, those who live in the area are going to start to see the work happening.

"There's still a lot of 'I believe it when I see it' and 'not in my life', well it's happening so we're really excited to promote that," Feary said.