The Oklahoma Transportation Commission Monday approved adding three important highway projects in Norman to the state’s eight-year transportation plan, a pair of Norman area legislative leaders announced today.
Senate President Pro Tempore Cal Hobson and House Speaker Pro Tempore-designate Bill Nations said the projects will ease traffic flow in the state’s third-largest city and enhance Norman’s economic development efforts.
The projects including the widening of more than four miles of I-35 to six lanes in Norman and improving the I-35 interchange with Main Street. Total cost of the projects will be nearly $40 million, said Hobson, D-Lexington.
“Investing in our transportation infrastructure is of utmost importance as Norman continues its growth as a regional education, recreation, research, economic and cultural center,” said Hobson, D-Lexington. “These projects will ease traffic congestion to and through the city and pave the way for future development not just along Norman’s I-35 corridor, but also on the new University of Oklahoma Research Campus-South along Highway 9.”
“Norman has experienced tremendous growth recently and with that comes growing pains. In order to keep up with increased population and business traffic we must strengthen our transportation structure and continue to plan for the future,” said Nations, D-Norman.
The Main Street interchange with Interstate 35 will be upgraded at a cost of $12 million. When the project is complete, the interchange will be similar to the one at I-35 and Robinson. Plans for the project have been completed for several years and will likely be upgraded depending on right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and development in the area, Transportation Department officials said.
The 4.5 miles of I-35 from Main Street to the US-77 interchange will be widened to six-lanes. Reconstruction of the US-77 interchange is also planned. Construction will be split into two projects at a total cost of $17.75 million, the lawmakers announced.
ODOT had previously listed right-of-way and utility projects in connection with the proposed widening of this stretch of I-35. The projects are no longer required and will be cancelled because the widening can be accomplished within the current right-of-way lines, ODOT officials said.
The third project includes right-of-way purchase and utility relocation along I-35 from Main Street south to the Canadian River in preparation for the eventual widening of that stretch of interstate to six lanes. Cost of the right-of-way and utility projects is estimated cost of $9 million. However, construction for the project is not included in the current 8-year plan.