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Norman bond package addresses flooding, traffic congestion

Norman voters are being asked to approve a $42.6 million general obligation bond package on Aug. 28 that would finance improvements to streets and bridges citywide.
by Jane Glenn Cannon Modified: August 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm •  Published: August 15, 2012

— A $42.6 million general obligation bond package on the Aug. 28 ballot is designed to finance improvements that would correct long-standing flooding problems and ease traffic congestion.

Total cost of the eight projects is estimated at $89 million, but anticipated federal transportation grant funds would pay for $46.4 million, or 52 percent, Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary said.

Approval of the bonds, over a 20-year debt financing period, would mean property owners would pay about $3 more a month on a home valued at $100,000, he said.

The projects include improvements to two bridges and six arterial streets. The projects would widen major connecting streets on the outer edges of the city limits, alleviate some of Norman's most traffic-congested areas and enhance public safety, O'Leary said.

Additionally, stormwater drainage solutions would be implemented that would correct flooding problems on W Lindsey Street, W Main Street and Franklin Road, he said.

A one-mile stretch of W Lindsey from Berry Road to 24th Avenue SW would be widened from three to five lanes and be combined with stormwater improvements at Lindsey and McGee Drive to address flooding problems that have plagued motorists and residents for the past 40 years, O'Leary said.

The flooding problem is so bad — and so predictable during times of heavy rain — that residents have dubbed the intersection “Lake McGee,” the public works director said.

The bond package includes reconstruction of bridges at W Main over Brookhaven Creek and at Franklin Road over Little River — areas that cause major problems for motorists when it rains.

Residents south of Main and 48th Avenue SW can't get to their homes when the road floods, and students and faculty at Moore Norman Technology Center lose a major access route to and from the school during heavy rain, O'Leary said.

Widening of W Lindsey has become imperative, the public works director said, because congestion on the one-mile stretch between Berry and 24th Avenue SW is not only the worst in Norman, “but it's the most congested spot in the entire metro area,” he said.

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by Jane Glenn Cannon
Senior Reporter
A native of Oklahoma, Jane Glenn Cannon is an award-winning reporter who has covered everything from crime, courts and government to entertainment and features. She wrote a popular personal column for many years. She is a former associate writer...
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