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A Wider Turner Turnpike Coming

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A six-lane lighted Turner Turnpike and a new exit at Post Road are part of plans announced today to expand Oklahoma’s turnpike system. The new multi-billion project is called ACCESS Oklahoma and was unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Kevin Stitt and transportation officials.

ACCESS Oklahoma stands for Advancing and Connecting Communities and Economies Safely Statewide. This $5 billion, 15-year long-range plan identifies and addresses on-going highway infrastructure needs to improve access to communities across the Oklahoma turnpike network.

News Release

In addition to the proposed Post Road exchange, other exits planned on the Turner include:

  • SH-102
  • SH-18 in Chandler
  • N3503 at Davenport
  • SH-99 in Stroud
  • S 481st at Depew and SH-16
  • SH-48 at Bristow.

The Turner Turnpike work to add the interchanges plus 60-miles of widening and lighting commands the most cost at an estimated $1.1 billion of the total $5 billion project that addresses other issues around the state.

“ACCESS Oklahoma is a strategic corridor plan that focuses on travel time reliability, easing congestion in our metro areas, moving freight across the state and adding access to communities that previously were not
connected to turnpikes,” Gatz said. “Addressing these needs will directly impact citizens’ quality of life while
enhancing the state’s infrastructure for future growth. But most importantly, each of these projects will improve highway safety for motorists,” said Tim Gatz, who serves as Transporation Secretary and the director at OTA and ODOT.

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North loop

Of the other projects included in the ACCESS Oklahoma project, the oft-rumored north loop connecting the Turner, through the countryside north of Luther, to connect to at I-35 south of Guthrie has not been mentioned in this round of turnpike expansion.

The announcement includes a word about funding:

ACCESS Oklahoma will be fully paid for with bonds and will not affect any part of the state budgeting process. Revenue will not be diverted from other state priorities. Revenues from tolls, investments and concession leases pay all operating and maintenance costs for the turnpikes and pay off the bonds issued to finance their construction.

Announcement

Sounds familiar

From the recent experience of the Kickapoo Turnpike construction, the recently completed 21-mile stretch connecting the Turner Turnpike to I-40 conjures the inevitable issues about the OTA purchasing properties they deem “necessary for each project.” The new website features a tab, Property Acquisition, with a video and a document on property rights, presented from the perspective of OTA and state government.

“It is our sincere hope and desire to successfully negotiate with each property owner to try and resolve all concerns and to deliver appropriate compensation for needed right-of-way,” said OTA Director of Engineering Darian Butler in the video.

Many will recall the dramatic experiences and protests of those who wanted to keep their land as part of the construction of the recently completed Kickapoo Turnpike, reported in The Luther Register. Some of that litigation is ongoing.

OTA video explaining the “property acquisition process.”

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