DUNCAN, Okla._The Oklahoma Department of Transportation has awarded $15.6 million to build a southern connection to the Duncan Bypass.
Officials say this project has always been a part of the plan since the bypass was first conceived. The project will be done in two phases. The first phase will start at Seminole Road in south Duncan where a new road will be built going northward, connecting it to the existing bypass. The second phase will extend the bypass further south, where it will re-connect to Highway 81 on Duncan's southern edge.
The area is just a pasture right now, but it will soon be where the first phase of the south connection project is going to begin. Phase 1 will consist of a bridge being built over Seminole Road and a new roadway connecting Seminole Road to the existing Duncan Bypass.
"We had feedback from people in south Duncan wanting access to the bypass going northbound from Seminole Road. So, on- and off-ramps are being constructed from the bypass to Seminole Road and Seminole Road to the bypass," Jay Earp, ODOT engineer, explained.
The connection at Seminole Road will allow drivers to go around Highway 81. The second phase of the project is aimed for traffic that is already on the bypass to be able to continue without clogging up Highway 81.
Earp says traffic often backs up as northbound city and county traffic is funneled into the only access point that currently forces them to yield at a stop light before entering the bypass. He says the new bridge connection will eliminate any congestion.
"They'll be able to enter the bypass on the south side of Duncan and travel on the bypass northbound to State Highway 7 without dealing with U.S. 81 traffic or traffic lights in Duncan," Earp said.
Earp says while all of this construction will be going on, he doesn't expect traffic to be disrupted for more than a few days.
"We'll have to hang beams and build the bridges, so we will restrict traffic in those areas for two to three days is it, very minimal impact to traffic," Earp said.
Earp says this project is something all drivers who use the bypass from any direction can look forward to being completed.
"The through-traffic originating from south Duncan or north Duncan, or out towards Lawton, they can get on the bypass and drive all the way around Duncan…never have to stop at a stoplight," Earp said.