The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved the contract to re-do the U.S. Interstate 35 frontage roads in Edmond. Tuesday’s vote was 7-0.
“This is the next step in a lengthy process, but significant in that work will now begin to design a future construction project, which is currently scheduled for fiscal year 2026 in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan at an estimated $20 million,” said Lisa Salim, ODOT spokeswoman.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation wants to improve existing two-way frontage roads; convert them to one-way frontage roads south of Second Street to Memorial Road. Construction will include what is commonly known as Texas Turnarounds which would be additional single lane structures that would be added to the existing bridges on the interstate.
“These turnarounds would be signal free,” City Manager Larry Stevens said in April. “It would actually result in reduced access time for traffic that’s moving from one direction on the interstate to a location on the opposite side.”
The construction of the turnarounds can be accomplished without closing any of the existing bridge lanes. No additional right-of way will be needed, Stevens said.
“ODOT is still very early in the process. The corridor study was just completed in partnership with the City of Edmond to see how to go about implementing those recommendations,” Salim said. “City of Edmond has formally adopted the recommendations of the study and approached ODOT about its desire to contribute funding to help expedite the project.”
Traffic safety prompted the city to contribute $350,000 to a $1.5 million contract study awarded in 2015 by ODOT to Poe & Associates, a design and engineering firm. The Edmond Area Chamber of Commerce joins the city in supporting this item.
• Project to convert the I-35 frontage roads to one-way between Memorial Rd. and US-77/SH-66/2nd St. in Edmond.
• This would include modification of the current off-ramps and adding protected turnarounds at each of those intersections.
Protected turnarounds will be built to tie into existing frontage roads on:
• North side of Memorial Road;
• North and south sides of both 15th Street and 33rd Street; and
• South side of US-77/SH-66/2nd St.
The engineering design contract was awarded to Poe & Associates for $1.5 million with the City of Edmond contributing $350,000. Estimated cost for the construction is $20 million (state and federal funds) plus contribution from City of Edmond with the city contributing at least 10 percent.
• Scheduled in the Eight-Year Construction Work Plan to go to bid in FY 2026.
ODOT SAYS THESE
• One-way frontage roads produce better traffic flow, shorter wait times at signals, less potential for collisions and can act as an emergency detour route for interstate traffic in event of a collision or other emergency shuts down I-35.
• This area has issues with traffic at these exits backing up onto the interstate.
• Studies show that drivers can actually reach destinations faster with one-way frontage roads and turnarounds due to less wait time at the traffic signals.