Oklahoma City Council members Tuesday encouraged the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to consider a possible commuter rail line in the upcoming Kilpatrick Turnpike widening project and expressed interest in an eventual southward expansion of the freeway.
Officials from the authority, the state Transportation Department and BNSF Railway are working to accommodate a potential new BNSF track at a bridge near the Broadway Extension that will be replaced as part of the widening project.
Council members said they hope the bridge also will have room for a future light rail service that could connect parts of the sprawling metro.
“It would be a shame to redo that bridge and then have to come along 10 years later and have to redo it again,” Ward 2 Councilman Ed Shadid said.
Tim Stewart, the Turnpike Authority's deputy director who briefed council members on the widening project at their weekly meeting, said officials haven't considered allowing room for a commuter rail line in the bridge design because there are no concrete plans for the service.
But at the request of Shadid, Ward 8 Councilman Patrick Ryan and Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer, Stewart said he would discuss the possibility with other transportation officials.
The Kilpatrick Turnpike widening project is set to begin in April, and estimated to cost $60 million. It will be paid for by