Residents Rally At State Capitol In Protest Of Turnpike Expansion

Wednesday, May 18th 2016, 3:07 pm
By: News 9

A rally held outside the Capitol Wednesday, was aimed to stop the turnpike from crossing homes and areas. Residents wanted to make a statement to lawmakers.

More than 150 people rallied, holding signs and showing maps of how the proposed turnpike would impact their properties and homes.

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“It’s going straight through the middle of our 160 acres,” said Jayna Gordon, a Mustang resident. She and about 30 family members live in Mustang on their family farm of 80 years. The turnpike would go right down the middle of their land. “It’s running over a hay field, wheat field. It’s where cattle are right now and it’s taking out my aunt’s home.”

Gordon said it’s a working farm that brings revenue for the family. She asked the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to move the plan off their property, but she said they won’t budge.

“It’s breaking our hearts and we want to stay together and we want to be able to see pastures not turnpikes.”

Melba Whitford was also at the rally holding her laminated land patent signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1903. She and her husband live on a farm that has been with the family for more than a century. The turnpike’s plan would also go across her land. “It’s historic property,” said Whitford, “It doesn’t mean feathers to them.”

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said it has worked with the public and engineers to reduce the number of affected homes in the path. They’re also working with property owners on purchase agreements.

Others, not at the rally, told News 9 they can’t imagine what travel would be like without the turnpike.

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