NORMAN — 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.
The accident rate on W Lindsey is the highest in the city, O'Leary said.
“It's three times the national average, which we say is unacceptable,” he said.
In public surveys conducted in 2009 and 2011, residents specified they wanted their tax dollars to go toward solving recurrent stormwater problems and traffic congestion, especially on some of the main thoroughfares such as 36th Avenue NW and Cedar Lane, he said.
A breakdown of projects that would be financed if the bond package is approved:
W Lindsey Street
widen from three to five lanes one mile of roadway between Berry and 24th Avenue SW.
incorporate major stormwater improvements along W Lindsey, particularly at McGee Drive.
tie-in with the Interstate 35/Lindsey interchange project.
24th Avenue SE/NE
widen two miles of roadway from two to four lanes north of Lindsey to Robinson Street.
new traffic signal at Meadowbrook Boulevard.
provide stormwater improvements.
36th Avenue NW
widen two miles of roadway from two to four lanes from Tecumseh Road to Indian Hills Road.
new traffic signals on 36th at Franklin and Indian Hills Road.
12th Avenue SE
widen a half-mile of roadway from two to four lanes from Cedar Lane to State Highway 9.
traffic signal improvements at 12th and SH 9.
provide stormwater improvements.
W Main Street bridge over Brookhaven Creek
replace existing four-lane bridge.
replace 1,000 feet of pavement on W Main.
stabilize 2,000 feet of downstream creek to reduce flooding.
E Alameda Street
widen roadway to four lanes between Ridge Lake Boulevard and 36th Avenue E.
add 10-foot paved shoulders from 36th to 48th Avenue E.
intersection improvements at Alameda/36th E and Alameda/48th E.
Cedar Lane Road
widen a mile and a half of roadway from two to four lanes from 12th to 24th Avenue SE.
new traffic signal at 12th and Cedar.
intersection improvements at Classen Boulevard and Cedar.
Franklin Road Bridge over Little River
replace existing two-lane bridge.
add 10-foot shoulders to roadway.
replace 2,000 feet of pavement on Franklin.