DEL CITY — A $5 million roadway update and widening project years in the making quietly came to a finish less than a month ago.
One of Del City's busiest areas, along SE 15 between Vickie Drive on the west and Sooner Road on the east, now has more turning and driving lanes, improving the flow of traffic. About a mile of roadway was improved.
“We're quite pleased with the project,” City Manager Mark Edwards said. “It will be well worth it and will move traffic through the area and improve business.”
Orange cones went up and construction started about a year ago, but the project has been in the works for about six years. Before road crews could do their work, the city had to buy easements from property owners. High-tension electric lines and gas lines had to be moved.
The project was paid for with funds from the city's dedicated sales tax as well as federal dollars.
Some businesses suffered during the nearly yearlong construction, Edwards said.
The city had to build an entrance for a dentist's office made unreachable by the roadwork. Car dealership owners told him they were constantly rewashing new cars because of dust in the air.
Alberto Fonseca, owner of Chile Mercado, 4640 SE 15, said his sales went down about 60 percent during the construction. Tie-ups in the area of Vickie Drive and SE 15 meant streets would get backed up and clogged, especially during high-volume times of day. “For lunch people (who) only have a little bit of time, one of my entrances was closed. ... It was a mess.”
Fonseca said he is excited the road is open and traffic is flowing again.
“Slowly but surely, things are moving along and business is picking up,” he said.