Cleveland County Homeowners File Lawsuit Over Turnpike Construction Plan

Wednesday, May 25th 2022, 6:54 am
By: News 9

NORMAN, Oklahoma -

More than 150 Cleveland County homeowners filed a lawsuit aiming to stop the construction of new turnpikes through the Norman area.

Related Story: Group of 150+ File Lawsuit Aiming To Stop Oklahoma Turnpike Construction Alleging Transparency Violations

The suit claims the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority violated state transparency laws leading up to the unveiling of the ACCESS Oklahoma plan.

On February 22nd, the governor announced the plan, which proposed two new turnpikes through Cleveland County.

At the center of the lawsuit, the open meetings act, which claims OTA violated it by not discussing the plans while they were being drafted.

Attorney Stan Ward brought the suit. He and his wife live in the proposed line of construction for a new turnpike and fear the state may try to take their home through eminent domain.

“They did not tell we the people exactly the nature of the business they were going to conduct,” Ward said.

Jessica Brown, with the Oklahoma Transportation Cabinet that oversees OTA, says that isn't true.

She says the ACCESS Oklahoma plan was first discussed in the board's December meeting.

“We have been very transparent, we believe, in how we have offered the information and the amount of information we've offered so early in a 15-year-long program,” Brown said.

Recordings of that meeting show officials discussed a long-term plan and its priorities, but not specific routes.

Ward is asking a Cleveland County judge to effectively reverse the actions of the OTA board.