Ed­mond plans in­ter­sec­tion im­prove­ments

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - NEWS - BY ERIECH TAPIA For The Ok­la­homan

ED­MOND — City of­fi­cials have be­gun prepar­ing for ma­jor road im­prove­ments as traf­fic in the city con­tin­ues to climb.

At three ma­jor in­ter­sec­tions, city of­fi­cials are propos­ing com­plete re­designs, but an of­fi­cial time­line has not been set for projects to be­gin.

Those in­ter­sec­tions in­clude Sec­ond Street and Bryant Av­enue, Sec­ond Street and Boule­vard Street, and Dan­forth and Sooner roads.

This past week, the city coun­cil ap­proved the first step to­ward the three projects, which are ex­pected to to­tal more than $10.5 mil­lion.

The city is hop­ing fed­eral funds will pay for more than $8.4 mil­lion of the to­tal cost.

All three in­ter­sec­tions are at ca­pac­ity and were iden­ti­fied as the top in­ter­sec­tions that frus­trate driv­ers, ac­cord­ing to a study done by the city.

The sur­veys also found that traf­fic is the No. 1 con­cern for cit­i­zens, which was not a sur­prise to city of­fi­cials.

“We are us­ing the in­for­ma­tion from those sur­veys to catch up,” said As­sis­tant City Man­ager Steve Com­mons.

The two in­ter­sec­tions of Sec­ond and Bryant and Sec­ond and Boule­vard serve about 40,000 cars per day.

Of­fi­cials are hop­ing to add dual left-turn lanes on Sec­ond and Bryant along with right-turn lanes, which will al­le­vi­ate con­ges­tion that in­ter­sec­tion has seen.

At Sec­ond and Boule­vard, dual left-turn lanes and pos­si­ble right­turn lanes will be added for the north and south ap­proaches on Boule­vard.

The im­prove­ments at the in­ter­sec­tion will re­duce the amount of green sig­nal time on Boule­vard, al­low­ing for more traf­fic flow on Sec­ond.

Con­struc­tion will use space in the ex­ist­ing me­di­ans, elim­i­nat­ing the need to buy ease­ments from nearby neigh­bors.

At Dan­forth and Sooner, plans are to widen the in­ter­sec­tion to four lanes with left and right turns. It will be the most costly of the three im­prove­ments at $7.5 mil­lion.

The city is also look­ing to get de­signs cre­ated for widen­ing Dan­forth, from the bridge at In­ter­state 35 to a half-mile west of Sooner.

There are no plans for a bridge ex­pan­sion at this time.

Now, the in­ter­sec­tion is two lanes and has a stop sign, but once com­pleted it would have a traf­fic light. More than 10,000 cars travel the in­ter­sec­tion each day.

The num­ber of turn lanes in both di­rec­tions has not been cal­cu­lated as a fi­nal traf­fic study is needed.

A large re­tain­ing wall will be re­quired on the north­west and south­west sides of Dan­forth due to a large el­e­va­tion dif­fer­ence.

Con­struc­tion on the in­ter­sec­tion could hap­pen af­ter work is com­pleted at the Sec­ond and Bryant in­ter­sec­tion and Sec­ond and Boule­vard in­ter­sec­tion. No date has been set, but city of­fi­cials ex­pect it will be at least a year away.

Dan­forth and Thomas Drive

Start­ing in May, con­struc­tion crews will be tear­ing up Thomas Drive just east of Ed­mond North High School to add a curve in the street.

The de­signs call for the road to loop around the east side of the park­ing lot stu­dents use.

The changes will no longer re­quire stu­dents to cross Thomas to get to school.

Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be fin­ished by Au­gust be­fore stu­dents re­turn.

Fu­ture project

Dur­ing the first bud­get meet­ing of the year, Com­mons said the city has be­gun look­ing at ex­pand­ing Covell to a four-lane road.

While no for­mal plans ex­ist, it is ex­pected to be widened from Bryant to I-35. The project is sev­eral years away, how­ever, the city has be­gun talks about bud­get­ing for it next year.

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