Construction on a long-awaited, multimillion-dollar project near Yukon is underway.
In the first of three projects along Piedmont Road, State Highway 4 will replace three smaller bridges over the North Canadian River with a longer single bridge.
All three projects are expected to cost $32 million and will widen, straighten and add left turn lanes to the road.
“You can just drive the road and at nearly every intersection see memorials set up for people that have been killed,” Gary Henry said.
Henry lives in the Surry Hills neighborhood, the source of much of the road’s traffic. Henry has his own story of a near fatal accident along the road.
“I had someone pull out in front of me. The problem was, I had nowhere to go,” he said, remembering his 1980 crash. “She couldn’t see me, and she pulled right out in front of me and I hit her right on the side of the car and I went through the windshield.”
According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, 4,200 people travel the road each day. They said that number is expected to double by 2032.
“We are moving (the project) as quickly as we can because we know there’s a growing need out there,” ODOT spokeswoman Lisa Shearer-Salim said.
She said funding puts the biggest hold on projects.
“I understand cost is an issue, but we’ve reached a point, I believe, where the state doesn’t have a choice,” Henry said.