The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) has recently received a number of inquiries from communities and property owners in the area of the proposed Eastern Oklahoma County (EOC) Turnpike with questions concerning the status of project development. In an effort to reach out and provide information regarding the status of the EOC, the OTA is providing this letter to various stakeholders in response.
At the April 14, 2016 public meeting, the design alignment was presented to stakeholders and interested members of the public. Since that time, OTA has worked to select and engage a team of excellent engineering firms to begin the necessary detailed design work for the project. Design efforts were progressed developing the engineering plans necessary for the new turnpike.
An initial effort in that work is to finalize the land survey necessary to connect the alignment to the physical features of the location. Since this includes locating known survey points, a number of surveyors have worked in and around the vicinity of the project. We have been advised that this activity is generating speculation that the finalized design alignment may be shifting to some of those areas where surveyors have been circulating. Please understand that while the alignment is progressing through design and may have slight adjustments, there are no substantive changes to the basic alignment location. The alignment can be seen on the OTA's Driving Forward website at http://www.drivingforwardok.com/northeast-ok-county-loop.
In addition to the land surveyors noted above, survey work to identify the locations of known utility lines is on-going. Also, a number of OTA consultants are finishing previously initiated work in the corridor to define the biological resources and document the cultural resources that exist in the area. All of this information will eventually be combined and used to assist the design engineers in finalizing the elevations of the roadway, the crossings at section line roads and the configurations of the interchanges. However, as noted earlier, the geometrics of the alignment remain essentially as discussed and presented at the referenced public meeting.
One issue that has yet to be determined is the inclusion of frontage roads along the alignment. The OTA remains committed to working with communities and county government to consider the feasibility of the addition of frontage roads along the new alignment when so desired by the entity. As originally presented, the typical alignment right of way width considered for this corridor will remain at three hundred feet (300’) and will only be modified where a resolution desiring frontage roads has been received from a jurisdictional entity and a favorable feasibility determination is made.
In response to the recent litigation filed with the Supreme Court, the OTA has initiated sensible limitations on further development activities on the new alignment. Until this matter is resolved, engineering will be halted at the 50% milestone and no new right-of- way acquisition offers are to be made without compelling property owner circumstances. The OTA is, however, committed to continuing negotiations in good faith with those property owners who have previously received an acquisition offer and who are actively engaged in securing replacement property as a result. Completing the activities described represents a logical point in project development to hold pending completion of all considerations in the Court.
Thank you for your patience while the circumstances beyond our control are resolved.