It's time for (another) update on a well-traveled roadway.
My wife and I moved to the Deer Creek area before our son was born, partly on the promise the then-brand new Lake Hefner Parkway/Highway 74 would be expanded to five lanes to the Oklahoma County line. The Oklahoma County Planning Office assured us (in person, with maps and project plans in hand) the project would start in 2000 and be completed in three to four years. Traffic was heavy, but we decided we could put up with it for awhile.
Our son will graduate high school soon. We're still waiting.
Inexplicably, the northern and middle phases were begun first, rather than the southern one, the last, and the one with the heaviest traffic. Today, traffic along that stretch, still just two lanes, is horrid. It's routinely backed up a half to 1 mile every morning and evening. It's normal to wait through two and often more lights at NW 150, NW 164 and NW 178.
We're ecstatic that new construction has recently begun to widen the intersections at those same three intersections. That's the first progress we've seen in — I think — almost two years! Maybe you could find out for us if this project will be finished before we retire in a couple more years.
Here's the latest from Cole Hackett, of the Media and Public Relations Division of the state Transportation Department:
“The SH 74 corridor between Memorial Road and Waterloo Road has grown rapidly in the past 20 years and with it the need to add additional traffic capacity to the roadway. The planning and preparations for the upcoming projects to complete the widening of the corridor have been moving along steadily as funding has been available, but in the mean time, an interim project is currently going on to add right turn lanes on north- and southbound SH 74 at NW 150 (33rd Street, Edmond) and NW 164 (15th Street, Edmond), and on northbound SH 74 at NW 178 (Edmond Road).
“This is being done to alleviate congestion in the area before the SH 74 corridor reconstruction projects currently scheduled for 2015 (Memorial to 164th) and 2016 (164th to 206th/Covell).
“(Norm) is correct in that normally ODOT starts in the section of a corridor that has the highest traffic volumes. However, the overall SH 74 corridor reconstruction between Memorial Road and Waterloo Road began at the north end to address much needed bridge replacements along SH 74 between Covell Road and Waterloo Road. ODOT felt it was crucial to replace the bridges in the northernmost two sections of the SH 74 corridor as soon as possible.
“Currently, the final two projects in the corridor widening are scheduled in 2015 and 2016 to widen SH 74 and reconstruct SH 74 intersections at NW 150 (33rd Street, Edmond), NW 164 (15th Street, Edmond), NW 178 (Edmond Road), NW 192 (Danforth Road) and NW 206 (Covell Road).
“Once started, each project is estimated to take roughly a year and a half to complete. When the entire SH 74 corridor reconstruction is complete, the road will be four to five lanes between Memorial Road and Waterloo Road at the Logan County line.”
By the way ...
Hopefully, this will answer all those who've written or called about this area. Now, we wait.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.