When Governor Mary Fallin and members of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority had a State Capitol ceremony back in October 2015 to announce a big deal turnpike expansion program, they probably didn’t have many Eastern Oklahoma County landowners in the audience offering the applause.
The $680 million project would expand or build six new toll roads in the state including the Northeast Oklahoma County loop that is supposed to connect the Turner Turnpike (I-44) to I-40 in a 21-mile stretch that a lot of worried landowners from Luther, Harrah and Choctaw fear might cut straight through their farms, homes and dreams.
Since that October 29 unveiling, the questions and the worry have been building. So what are citizens to do not only when their questions aren’t getting answered but not even an official map has been shared? They turn to social media.
A Facebook page, Citizens Opposed to the Eastern Oklahoma County Loop-Turnpike-Interstate, just today, posted an online petition that quickly gathered nearly 400 signatures.
The petition states:
The people of Eastern Oklahoma County, in order to protect our hard earned property, have determined to stand for our property rights in opposition to a proposed turnpike, the necessity of which has yet to be proven to the satisfaction of the residents of Eastern Oklahoma County. We are not willing to stand idly by and have our homes, farms, businesses, the very things we have spent our lives building, be replaced by an un-necessary turnpike.
The petitioners are calling for “an immediate cessation of all activity conducted in pursuit of this turnpike project. This petition is intended for Governor Mary Fallin, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, as well as any and all other parties engaged in the Eastern Oklahoma County Turnpike Loop project.”
We the undersigned feel the time is not right for a new turnpike in Eastern Oklahoma County, and that such a project would displace and cause economic as well as physical hardship to many more people than it would benefit. There are many in the path of this project with land, farms, businesses, homes and property that have been in their families for generations, the loss of which would be greater than any gain any turnpike would provide.
Complete with a website, Driving Forward OK, and even a hashtag (#drivingforwardOK), the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and the governor claim they are planning for the future and laying the pavement for more economic development.
The website lists these details of the NE OK County Loop:
Project Length: 21 miles
Cost: $300 million
Type: New construction
Overview: this project will allow for a connection from Eastern Oklahoma County to vital intersections for travel. This will produce a drive-time reduction to access Tulsa from the OKC Metro and a needed new loop to alleviate current congested traffic in the Oklahoma City area. Construction will link I-40 and I-44 (Turner Turnpike) in Eastern Oklahoma County.
The website made sure to point out that the mammoth project is not part of the state budget, a budget with a $900 million reduction this coming year. “Users of the system will pay for the project,” OTA proclaims in their marketing materials. Tolls and bonds?
This is not the first time this turnpike spur has been proposed. The state spent $375,000 back in 1999 to study a loop east of Oklahoma City. Public outcry halted the project. (news.ok)
If you are in the affected area (wherever that might be somewhere in the general area of Hogback Road, Peebly, or is it Triple X, maybe Memorial?) or have a concern, would you comment or send an email to email@example.com. Even if you are for the project, we’d like to hear from you.
My family farm is located on NE 150th in Luther, OK and this project threatens to steal approximately 120 acres of our land. This is the only hay producing land we have and if this is stolen from us our family farm will cease to exist because we would be unable to provide for our cattle. My brothers and I are the third generation on this land. My grandfather died of melanoma fighting to keep his farm and my grandma now fears that his sacrifice may have been for nothing, because even after grandpa was gone his grandchildren cherished every thought of him and that farm holds our dearest memories of time spent by his side learning how to farm. My grandfather was also a WWII veteran so where is the respect in stealing the land of a man who fought for freedom.
I feel we better get pro active quickly. This breaks my heart thinking of the hopes, dreams, prayers, hard work that has been from one generation to the next, to the next. Each generation making sacrifices to improve and leave our families with a legacy of hard work and love. 300-700 million is the estimated cost to build the loop. What are the estimated cost for the homes, and way of life the land has provided for generations?
My family has owned land off NE 63rd between Luther and Peebly for the past 50 years. There are others out here who have passed land on for generations. There are farms out here 100+ years old. I’ve seen them surveying Luther Rd between 23rd and 63rd. Triple X has been completely inaccessible because of river erosion for the last 8 months. I’ve been told that the city or county turned it over to the OTA. So, not only are they essentially stealing peoples property, land and homes…but those of us who live here will potentially have to pay a toll to get to Choctaw or continue having to take the long way around. This all makes me sick.
Do not build this!
We just purchased 5 acres to build our dream home. We purposely went so far out to avoid the traffic and congestion of city life. I am going to be devasted if this happens. It will run off all the wildlife that we enjoy being apart of. Not to mention destroy family farms and homes that have been in families for generations. $300 million dollars? To shave a few minutes off your drive to get to Tulsa. Move to Tulsa if you don’t like the drive. This is absolutely ridiculous. $300 million dollars people. That’s going to come from our pockets! Please sign the petition.
We had a meeting last night regarding the turnpike and the effects it will have on our area. There will be another meeting tonight @ Harrah City Hall 19625 NE 23rd St, 7pm. The meeting to voice our opinion before the OTA will be on Jan. 26th, 10:30am located at the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority: AOGC Building, 636 NE 41st in Okc. They are allowing 5 people to have 3 minutes of speaking time regarding opposition of this proposal. The plan we agreed on at our meeting is to assemble at the capitol and take a stand in numbers while the state is in session. please inform everyone in your area and ask them to spread the word.
Thanks for the report. I couldn’t make it to the meeting.
Fought for my country in Vietnam. Now will fight for my land in Oklahoma !
This is worse than I thought! I need info! eeeeek!
There is going to be a crew from news channel 5 out at our farm tonight if you would like to oppose the turnpike contact me at 404-651-9880
My parents, brother(& 4 kids), Aunt & Uncle, multiple cousins, family friends are in the area. So many families will loose their homes. Homes they’ve work hard to keep. Some can’t afford to move or want to move. Some of these people are elderly. They don’t want a turnpike in their front yards. These are places they feel safe and comfortable. They have raised kids and grandkids here. Don’t put them out or disturb their lives with something like this!
Everyone needs to know whats going on its public info . Plans should be posted for public to see where !!!!! Its going!!!! funny thing is all of the roads out here are a joke as it is in Lincoln .co . And I half to pay again to use a road that’s a joke !!! Please don’t do me any more favors.I caint afford them.
The government will begin by offering an amount as small as $300 per acre and if you refuse the amount will get smaller until they issue imminent domain and seize your lands for the “benefit” of the government. This is what I mean by steal these people have no morals they take what they want.
You’re crazy. Most, if not all the info you spew is completely wrong. People need to know their market value and then get an attorney to insure you get maximum value for all of your property. You can get a premium (>market value) if you know what you are doing. Complaining and acting like a moron will get you nowhere. This deal is done. You can’t overturn an already funded project. Come to this understanding and start building your case for the amount of money you want!
Oklahoma Landowners Bill of Rights
They will demolish houses already built and long standing if these structures are in the way of progress or so it is called.
Can’t wait for the turnpike to be completed, OKC has needed and planned for this for many years. Sacrifices of the few for the betterment of the masses as they say, this will save me 1 1/2 hour from my daily commute or nearly 8 hours a week back with my family.
Sacrifices of the “few” as you put it! Make a sacrifice yourself and relocate.
Then may your house never be in the way of progress…. 177 would be a better choice. It’s fiscally irresponsible to do otherwise.
Maybe you should consider moving closer to work if you don’t like the lengthy commute. You could save time and money. I don’t see the need to build a $300 million dollar 21 mile turnpike.
You must not live out here, since you don’t care. You would feel different if it was effecting you
I bet at least Half of the people that sign the Petition have a pike pass. Someone had to make a change in their life style for them to zip around the state! It will benefit people in the long term for our sacrifice. If no one ever wanted to give up anything for others we would have cars but no road to drive them on!
Well said. My guess is that the majority of the opposition to this are hypocrites.
My husband and I have worked very hard through the years to be able to be debt free.. We found a house with 5 acres and totally remodeled it, and made a home for our family. We chose Choctaw because we didn’t want to live close to a turnpike, or live in the city.. Now we find out that our dreams could be shattered because someone drive time could be cut short or it could help with economic growth. Are you kidding me??? If the building of this turnpike takes place and I have to “give” away my house that I put all my hard earned money into, this will cause a financial hardship on our family. We love our town the way it was intended to be, please don’t mess with it!!!
I am totally oppossed to the turnpike. I don’t think very many residents in Eastern Oklahoma County will benefit from this road. We will all suffer for the benefit of some that work for big businesses in MWC. If your drive is inconvenient, then move. Don’t make our property value drop for your benefit! Or even worse, displace people from land they have owned for generations! I live within a couple of miles of I 40 for my convenience to get to work. All this will do is kill our area while they construct the road for 4 years. Then we will have noise pollution forever from a turnpike that will likey be in my backyard! Is the government willing to pay me damages for dealing with that – I think our broke state government will pay as little as possible! No thank you!!
OTA’s Jack Damrill. Don’t lie.. X marks the spot. We are not dumb.
“definite route has not been determined”, my eye!
They should just fix up the hogback Rd, to get to MWC, looks like something is in the works they are make the bridge over the turnpike a 4 laner.
Imminent domain is never in the best interests of those in its path. It is a mechanism of legal plunder used to force those that do not wish to sell for any price, to sell at, “Fair Market Value.” The term “Fair Market Value” in this case is a contradiction in terms since the State forces the sale and is then the only possible “buyer.” This should not be in a free society. That is just one aspect of this unsavory process. This project has all the usual hallmarks of political engineering, a lack of transparency in its notice and planning, as well as a disregard for private property. STAND UP, RESIST, AND SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER!!
You plan on taking a nursing home with this ridiculous idea. Your going to be taking people’s homes that they have lived on for years. How dare you think this a good idea. I hope something changes for this turnpike. It doesn’t need to be going where 100’s of people and there homes will in jeopardy. Just stop and think people will the turnpike benefit the people that you are taking it from.
I found some of the X on triple X road all the way to Wilshire, where the road is closed for repair, don’t know how much further they go, and east on Wilshire for about 3/4 of a mile.
We can’t pay our teachers enough to keep them in Oklahoma. We hear cries of budget shortfall and reduction in needed services. I am very much against our spending money for unnecessary turnpikes.
I am not against progress and can see why some folks would propose such a turnpike. I am not convinced, however, that the location is optimal nor am I convinced that real detailed thinking has gone into what ripple affects such a project will have on the quality of life in the area. There are many quiet, nice neighborhoods that lie within ½ mile of the proposed route and will be subjected to the noise and chaos of not just construction but also of the later traffic.
I have questions to which I have not heard answers. To wit:
• How till such a turnpike affect the residential status of the area?
• How many businesses are truly expected to be attracted to the area by this turnpike?
• If businesses do begin to crop up as politicians claim will these businesses inundate the area and turn it from a quiet residential environment to a congested area of shops, stores, and warehouses?
• If zoning near the turnpike favors businesses in a formerly residential area, will these businesses have some type of building code to which they must adhere to keep the area attractive or will we be subjected to the usual ramshackle assemblage of poorly built storefronts that quickly turn into eyesores?
• Which existing roads will be terminated by the turnpike?
• Which roads will pass under or over the turnpike?
• How many of the local roads will have off-ramps or on-ramps to the turnpike?
• How will the local, section-line, two-lane roads handle the added traffic?
• Who will pay for “improvements” required to the existing road infrastructure in order to handle the added traffic on the “feeder routes”?
• How will residences be affected by the added traffic, congestion, and noise associated with all of these “improvements”?
Theodore Roosevelt signed a promised grant of 160 acres to my grandfather and his heirs and assigns “FOREVER” which I have, and is recorded in courthouse records, in 1903. That was 4 years before there was a State Of Oklahoma. Is this land GRAB a good way to perpetuate “liberty & justice foe all?”
After teaching overseas for the Department of Defense for 25 years, retirement brought my husband and me back home to Oklahoma, the OKC area near cultural opportunities and high-level medical care. We found property in the quiet, but convenient, eastern part of Oklahoma County and built our dream home. The week we received our certificate of occupancy to move in, I received a diagnosis of cancer. Six years later I’m counted as a survivor. But this turnpike could be a quarter of a mile from my dream home; I don’t think I can survive it. My father spent decades fighting imminent domain to save his ranch in northern Oklahoma; he eventually lost and paid a tremendous price health-wise.
Our state is having tremendous financial difficulties. How can we possibly afford this turnpike, or any other such plans, at this time. We are about to cut teachers pay; they are nearly the lowest paid in the nation now. New standards won’t matter if we cannot keep well-qualified teachers in the state.
My plea with our elected officials to use good, old-fashioned common sense in budgeting for our great state. Our future, and that of our children, depends on it. May God bless us all.