Traffic wasn’t a major issue for fans getting to and from Oak Tree National for the U.S. Senior Open.
But if the club wants to host an event like the U.S. Open — which could have 100,000 more fans over the course of a week — wider streets around the course could be necessary. In fact, it was the only significant concern that the USGA has expressed to Oak Tree representatives during the week.
“We’re going to get about 140,000 people this week,” Oak Tree National co-owner Ed Evans said prior to Sunday’s final round. “For a U.S. Open, it’s probably closer to 250,000. Can we handle that ingress and egress? I think we can.
“We’ve had conversations with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, along with the county and city of Edmond. We know what it would take to do that, and we’d have plenty of time to make the improvements that are necessary.”
With the majority of fan parking located off Waterloo Road, it might seem natural to widen it to four lanes from the course to Interstate 35, which is about four miles.
But Waterloo isn’t entirely within Edmond city limits or Oklahoma County, and includes a half-mile stretch that is unannexed property. So it would take multiple groups working together to make that happen.
The easier solution might be a plan that’s already in the works in Edmond. The idea is to build a four-lane parkway along Covell Road, an east-west road one mile south of Oak Tree National’s property, from Kelly Avenue to I-35.
“That’s already in the planning stages, and now is just something that we need to get funded,” said Edmond Chief of Police Bob Ricks. “That would also feed into the development that’s going to be occurring at I-35. Looking long-term at future events here, that could be your main artery for traffic. If that develops, it would be a divided, four-lane highway.”
Kelly is already four lanes to the south of Covell, and could be widened to the north toward Sorghum Mill Road, where Oak Tree is located.
“I think we can easily accommodate crowds twice the size we’ve had for this tournament,” Ricks said. “Law enforcement-wise and logistics-wise, we have the ability to handle a major championship.”