Plans to widen I-35 raise concern

Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 7:29 pm
By: News 9

By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9

If you live in Norman you know that getting around town isn't as easy as it used to be.

As state officials prepare to widen Interstate 35 through Norman, city officials are floating one idea to relieve the problem, but others think it would only make matters worse.

Norman is considering whether this might also be a good time to change the frontage roads along I-35 from the current two-way flow to one-way.

"One-way frontage roads have been proven around the country to be safer, more efficient in terms of traffic management," Norman Public Works Director Shawn O'Leary said.

But businesses along the frontage roads worry that a change to one-way would have negative economic effects.

"Consumers, instead of being able to go back and forth and up and down the street, going in and out of the different car dealerships and businesses would be forced to go one-way," local business owner Mike Fowler said.

And Fowler said the result would be drivers would frequently have to drive a long way around to get where they want to go.

Home owners in the nearby Dove Crossing neighborhood are opposed to the idea as well.

"When it turns to one-way we're going to have a lot more movement, of course, with traffic and they're going to think that they can maybe go through here and find an out to go around, which this is a cul-de-sac," homeowner Darlene Edgeman said. "There is no out."

"My main worry is the children outside with all the traffic coming through, the dangers, you know, of kids maybe, possibly getting hit," homeowner Susan Herron said. "And just the traffic in general, you don't want in your neighborhood."

More discussion and more meetings will be held before Norman decides one way or the other.