A long-term plan to modernize Rogers County’s transportation infrastructure and ease growing congestion in Claremore was announced on Friday by Sen. Marty Quinn, R-Claremore, and Rep. Mark Lepak, R-Claremore. For the past several months, the two lawmakers have been working with Transportation Sec. Gary Ridley to secure support for a project to complete a new transportation corridor south of Claremore connecting State Highway 20 to the Will Rogers Turnpike.
“This is fantastic news. Rogers County is the fastest growing county in northeastern Oklahoma, and the fifth fastest growing county in the entire state. But with that growth has come ever-increasing traffic. Drivers traveling east to Pryor and beyond on Highway 20 have to go through Claremore and the congestion has become an increasing problem,” Quinn said. “Opening up a new corridor south of the city will ease congestion in town and will modernize our transportation infrastructure. It’s important for safety, for convenience and for economic development.”
The corridor will be a cooperative project between the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).
“We are excited that the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority are committed to the construction of this west-east corridor. It’s of tremendous importance to Rogers County and to Claremore,” Lepak said. “But it’s important to point out that our growth and economic development benefit northeastern Oklahoma and ultimately the entire state—so as transportation officials have been developing a statewide plan for modernizing Oklahoma’s transportation infrastructure, Senator Quinn and I believed it was critical for this project to be a part of that.”
An existing environmental impact study must first be revisited and updated to take into account the proposed corridor route, which would begin at Highway 20 in the area of Keatonville Hill, continuing east to historic Route 66, then to the Will Rogers Turnpike in the vicinity of Flint Road. From the turnpike, drivers will be able to exit and continue east on Highway 20.
Although significant portions of right of way have been purchased, additional acquisitions will likely be needed.
“Representative Lepak and I want to extend our sincere thanks to Governor Mary Fallin and Secretary Ridley for their support,” Quinn said. “This effort began decades ago, so it is important to acknowledge our predecessors in the Senate and the House for their work, and that of our Claremore city officials as well.”