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Durant: Planned bypass to reduce traffic congestion

Durant: Planned bypass to reduce traffic congestion


The Durant Daily Democrat
by Jamie Carrick Staff writer

10.03.09 - 05:38 pm
Construction is ongoing for a highway bypass through Durant, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and city officials.

ODOT Spokesperson David Meuser said the bypass, which has multiple phases, is being built to reduce business, or truck traffic through Durant. The highway would lead truck traffic around the town.

City Manager James Dunegan agreed, saying that traffic through town will move faster. Also, the bypass will allow greater access to areas of town, such as downtown and the Durant Multi-Sports Complex, and help the city grow.

“It’s a great asset for the industrial side,” Dunegan said.

City Manager James Dunegan said ODOT is spearheading the project; however, Durant is responsible for moving water and sewage utilities, which can take awhile. As of Tuesday, the project had cost the city $423,000, plus equipment and labor.

Included in this is $152,532 to Dual Construction, a company out of Texarkana, who the city contracted to help with move 1,800 feet of sewer lines on a portion of Highway 78. The city had oversight on the contracted work, Dunegan said.

All other utilities, such as electric and gas, must be moved by the companies or entities who own them, Dunegan said.

Construction on Phases I and II, which stretch from from Highway 70 West, then southeast across the four-lane highway and past Enterprise Boulevard, began in August, Meuser said, adding that nearly three miles of dirtwork will need to be done on the section. He anticipates that step will take approximately two years to complete.

After the dirtwork is complete, then a bid can be made for the surfacing, Dunegan said.

Phase III, which goes from Highway 69B (South Ninth Avenue) across Highway 78, will begin in few months, Meuser said.

In 60 days, bids will be made on the third leg of the project. The road beds are almost complete and most of the utilities have been moved, Dunegan said.

The costs for the road beds on Phase I and II cost $23 million, and the ones on Phase III cost $18 million, Dunegan said.

Dunegan and Meuser said that the highway bypass project will have at least one more phase, which will run from Highway 78 to Highway 70 East of Durant, to complete the loop. However, if necessary, this could be split into two stages.

Construction awards for the final phase(s) could be made by 2014, with an overall project completion year of 2016.

The project has been in the planning stages since 2000, up until August 2009 when ODOT began construction.

The estimated cost is $85 million, which includes construction and purchasing the right of way. The ODOT project is being financed with federal funds.

Meuser said Durant was selected partly because Highway 70 is busy and the city is a high-traffic area.

Durant has approximately 6,000 vehicles on the west side and approximately 4,000 on the east side daily. As the town grows, traffic could increase, he said.

Dunegan said the bypass is strictly an ODOT project, but the city is for it, adding that he is glad ODOT chose this area.

“We’re just glad to get a road anywhere,” he said.

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