Pryor Residents Voice Concerns To ODOT Over Highway 412 Interstate Conversion Project

Some people living along Highway 412 have concerns over the state's plan to convert a stretch of road into an interstate.

Wednesday, June 12th 2024, 5:27 pm

By: News On 6


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Some people living along Highway 412 have concerns over the state's plan to convert a stretch of road into an interstate.

They're worried the project will make it harder for people to get into town, which would be bad for area business.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is giving the people of Pryor the chance to express their concerns.

It's the second public meeting this week that ODOT is having to answer people who have comments, questions or concerns about the project.

A business owner said she just wants to make sure no small business pays the price for the project.

Rural Mayes County roads currently allow drivers to enter and exit onto Highway 412.

A plan through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation would change much of that access, converting the highway into an interstate from I-35 in Noble County to I-49 in Arkansas.

“It is a concern, ‘cause Inola’s a little ole town, and we don’t want it to be a ghost town," said Rhonda Unruh.

She runs a store in Inola and is worried the changes could impact her community.

“With them coming off the exit, probably will help some of the businesses here, but, it’s going to hurt the ones on the highway, which we don’t want it to hurt them, we want them to prosper," Unruh said.

ODOT said the project would require access from many of the rural roads to be closed. Instead, interchanges and bridges would be added every two to four miles.

“With interstate standards, it’s all controlled access, any access onto the highway needs to be done with an interchange, so ramps on and off," said TJ Gerlach with ODOT.

The area is home to a large Amish population, but the department said it will keep them in mind.

“We have met individually with members of that community and discussed some of their concerns, we’ve adopted some of their concerns into what we’ve proposed," Gerlach said.

While the proposal is a big change, ODOT said an interstate is safer and necessary to accommodate growth.

The meeting in Pryor ends at 6:30 p.m. and if you can't make it, ODOT has an online presentation on its website where users can leave comments.

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