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Norman's Interstate 35 work thins to 2 designs

Norman's Interstate 35 work thins to 2 designs



NEWSOK - BY JAMES S. TYREE

Published: September 18, 2009

NORMAN — The number of design plans for widening Interstate 35 in the southern half of Norman has been trimmed from nine to two, and the finalists are similar.

Most of the other questions at the meeting dealt with noise walls for neighborhoods close to I-35 such as Normandy Park, and how the project would affect storm drainage. Those issues are among the ones being studied and for which the Transportation Department is collecting written public comments through Oct. 1. They may sent to Dawn Sullivan, Oklahoma Department of Transportation Environmental Programs Division, 200 NE 21st St., Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or e-mailed to environment@odot.org.

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Representatives of the state Transportation Department and the Benham Companies said Thursday at a public meeting that the primary difference is at State Highway 9E and 24th Avenue SW.

The alternate, called 2B, has been the most popular according to public comments. It would have an overpass over 24th Avenue for traffic exiting I-35 onto SH 9E. Alternate 4, a newer option introduced Thursday at the Embassy Suites and Conference Center in Norman, would add turning lanes from 24th Avenue onto SH 9E instead of a bridge.

The public meeting was the fourth in two years concerning phase two of the I-35 widening project in Norman. The first phase, from the city’s northern limits at Indian Hills Road to a half-mile north of Main Street, is under way and scheduled for completion next summer.

The second phase, the subject of Thursday’s meeting, will go from north of Main Street down to the Canadian River bridge. Both phases will widen the interstate to six lanes through Norman.

The remaining phase-two options would include a single-point urban interchange to direct foot and motor traffic on Main Street past the interstate, a connection from Ed Noble Parkway onto I-35, a north loop ramp at SH 9 and I-35, and would add a third lane on westbound SH 9 between McGee Drive and 24th Avenue SW.

The options at 24th Avenue and SH 9E are different ways to ease traffic at the intersection, much of it coming from vehicles leaving the interstate.

A woman who owns a business near the intersection asked how the tractor-trailers that supply her business can get there with the overpass option. She was told they’d probably take the Lindsey Street exit.

Once the environmental assessment is completed, a final public hearing is expected to take place next spring or summer.

Read more: http://www.newsok.com/normans-interstate-35-work-thins-to-2-designs/article/3401961#ixzz0RTQTANA0

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