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2 News Oklahoma KJRH Tulsa
ODOT considers turning US Highway 412 into interstate
By Karen Larsen,
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is considering a plan to turn US Highway 412 into an interstate. The 190-mile project would span much of rural Oklahoma and run through Tulsa to the Arkansas border. A public meeting Tuesday drew citizens and public leaders concerned about the impact.
With maps and graphs, ODOT engineers laid out the current conditions of US 412, as well as plans to convert it to an official interstate.
"412 is pretty heavily traveled and growth models show it will have more travelers going forward," said TJ Gerlach, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. "We want it to meet industry standards for safety."
Those plans are what Jack Seawright, who lives in Tulsa County, wanted to hear more about.
"To voice my concerns about safety," Jack Seawright said. "The exit ramps at Sand Springs back up.. plus the roads get torn up by the semis."
ODOT offered information on the plans to widen shoulders and eliminate crossings where drivers can currently turn left or right onto side roads. Instead, drivers would have on and off-ramps across the 190-mile proposed conversion - from Noble County to Springdale, Arkansas.
In a news release, ODOT said the study is focused on:
Addressing Congressionally mandated legislation to convert U.S. 412 to an Interstate
Improving safety for all travelers on U.S. 412
Enhancing mobility and improving system and travel time reliability
Enhancing system linkage by connecting rural and urban communities, national airports and inland ports, and freight supply chains
"It will also serve the Port of Catoosa and Port of Inola so it will be great for economic development as well," Gerlach added. As yet, he says it's too soon to know how much converting the highway would cost or how long it would take.
When you just say, 'Hey, we're going to do an interstate, and we're going to have to widen shoulders and upgrade certain areas.' That affects the community," said OK. Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-District 73.
State Representative Regina Goodwin is concerned for the Greenwood Community. Its leaders are currently studying a plan to reroute the one-mile stretch of 412 that cuts through the once-thriving Black community.
"I don't see any willingness here at this meeting to even consider that plan and we've asked for awhile that consideration be given," Rep. Goodwin stated.