OTA Turnpike Project Halt Offers Hope For Norman Homeowners

A plan to build $5 billion in Oklahoma turnpikes is now suspended. The decision from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is a welcomed one for homeowners on the path. 

Tuesday, April 11th 2023, 10:33 pm



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A plan to build $5 billion in Oklahoma turnpikes is now suspended. The decision from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is a welcomed one for homeowners on the path. 

Norman homeowners have been fighting to save their homes since they found out last year. Tuesday provided more hope that a road won’t run over their lives.  

If roads are meant to drive us forward, then Amy Cerato doesn’t understand why her life must shift into reverse.   

“We have so many questions that they just won’t answer,” said Cerato, who could lose her home if OTA builds a turnpike through her neighborhood. 

Cerato and her family have lived in rural Norman for 18 years.  

“It’s been a labor of love to grow our family here,” Cerato said. 

Cerato and her husband Mike fixed their home themselves and planted their roots in Norman.   

“It’s so peaceful,” Cerato said. 

A place they love, but a place they could lose.  

“They planned these routes in secret,” Cerato said. 

Cerato is part of the Pike Off OTA.   

“We formed it within three weeks of the announcement,” she said. 

Pike Off OTA is a grassroots nonprofit that has tried to stop OTA from building these turnpikes. Cerato found out on Facebook that her home would be taken from her family. 

“The pit of my stomach just fell out,” Cerato said. 

They even built a pool in their backyard just before hearing the news. 

“And we weren't even finished when we heard the Turnpike was gonna come through and destroy everything,” Cerato said. 

Tuesday, OTA suspended those projects.  

“We were able to catch them before they went to the council for bond oversight,” said Cerato, on their legal efforts to slow down these projects. 

Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz said the future of Access Oklahoma sits with the Oklahoma Supreme Court.  

“We believe these routes are valid, but until the Supreme Court provides a ruling, that’s an unknown,” Gatz said. 

Cerato said she is having a plant sale to help pay the legal bills.  

“We’ve got a whole bunch of native perennials that people have donated,” Cerato said. 

Sometimes life’s highway isn’t about where it leads, it’s about what it took to get there.   

“There’s not enough money that can pay to replace those memories that you’ve made,” Cerato said. 

Cerato’s efforts won’t stop with Tuesday’s announcement. Cerato said she wants to help change Oklahoma law to prevent OTA from planning future projects in her neighborhood. 

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