ODOT replaces portion of Highway 277 - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

ODOT replaces portion of Highway 277

ELGIN, Okla._Despite spring rains, road crews are making progress on a $15 million project on Highway 277.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is laying down a brand new road over a five-mile stretch of Highway 277, from I-44 to U.S. Highway 62, instead of repairing it. The new highway is being laid down just south of the existing road.

If you've ever driven on the stretch of road, it's kind of like a roller coaster with all the ups and downs. ODOT says by building a new road, it's easier for construction and drivers while they flatten the land.

Every day, 3,500 cars drive down that section of Highway 277. While the area is not particularly dangerous, ODOT construction engineer Jay Earp says there are some safety concerns.

"The highway is narrow. We have two, 12-foot lanes and virtually no shoulders. And the curves, the hills and valleys are pretty steep," explained Earp.

When ODOT did a public discussion on the project, one of the biggest concerns nearby residents had was the constant traffic of semi-trucks on the highway; around 20 percent of the daily traffic is made up of semis.

"A car stopped in the lane, maybe waiting to turn right or left off of the road way and the fear of one of the trucks loaded coming up behind them not being able to stop, because the sight distance, may have not been as great as the modern day design speeds will allow for," explained Earp.

Those hills will be nearly eliminated when it is all said and done.

"In one of the hills, we are having to eliminate it as much as eight feet," said Earp.

When it is completed, there will be an eight-foot shoulder on both sides.

"Adding the shoulder, we hope to reduce accidents. And in the event of an accident, someone would be able to get over on the shoulder, or even over on the grass to the right of the shoulder, and allow motorist pass safely to your left," explained Earp.

The only part of the old road that is staying is the bridge over East Cache Creek. Earp says it is in good condition and the highway will just curve over at that portion. He says when the construction is over, the old highway will be removed and grass will be grown.

Since they're rebuilding the highway, drivers haven't seen many delays while commuting. Earp says there may be some impact on traffic this week while they work on the railroad crossing.

They expect to finish the project by winter.

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