Buckle up and prepare for two years of delays; the long-touted road construction on Route 66 between Arcadia and Luther is slated to begin on January 30. Even though the project has been discussed since 2016, actual construction signs are dotting the roadway, so it must be happening this time. Plus a construction company was awarded a $30 million contract to do the work.
Back in 2016, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said the proposed projects will address poor pavement conditions, insufficient drainage, safety issues such as narrow lanes and a lack of road shoulders as well as reconstruct two SH-66 intersections at Hiwassee Road and Indian Meridian Road. ODOT planned for that construction to occur between 2017 – 2019 with an estimated $10 million total investment the $10 million project – and would include some lane additions, establishing shoulders and resurfacing.
The project now is $30 million and was awarded to T.J. Campbell Construction in December 2022.
Here’s the rundown on the projects according to ODOT:
- Resurfacing and widening SH-66 from two lanes to four lanes and adding improved shoulders between Post Rd. and Westminster Rd.
- Resurfacing and adding improved shoulders to SH-66 between Anderson Rd. and Luther Rd.
- Improving intersections at Hiwassee Road and Indian Meridian Road.
Of note, the one-mile stretch in Arcadia from Westminster to Anderson, where Pops, the Round Barn, The Feathery Crow, Arcadia General Store, and the Chicken Shack are located, will not have any work in this round of improvements. ODOT says they need more time to work out the rights of way access and moving utilities. No doubt they must also work out how to maneuver around the historic barn and accommodate tourist traffic and pedestrians.
The road will not close during the two-year project, but portions will be closed to one lane. ODOT recommends finding alternate routes until the work is complete in 2025.
While inconvenient, the projects are designed to improve the sketchy intersections at Indian Meridian and Hiwassee and Route 66, and provide shoulders for increased safety in the area closer to Luther.
ODOT said the road improvements should be ready to welcome an influx of Route 66 travelers in advance of the Mother Road’s centennial in 2026.