BRAY-DOYLE, OK (KSWO) - Improvements to a stretch of Highway 29 in Stephens County are in the works. People who drive on the highway every day got a chance to meet with ODOT engineers on Tuesday evening to talk about what those plans are. The meeting was held at the Bray-Doyle Public School Cafeteria.
The most popular question for most was when is this project going to get started. Because that particular part of Highway 29 between the county line and Bray has seen its share of deadly accidents. With some of these improvements from ODOT, they are hoping to create a safer highway for drivers.
"It's a good thing that this has come along," Terry Keck, who has lived along Highway 29 for 21 years said. "This has been needed for a long time. Very much so."
Keck has seen her share of accidents on that road.
"Oh yea, right down the road at least two or three of them," Keck said. "Several times a Highway Patrolman will come up to our house to see if we had phone service, and to use our phone because they don't have service down there. So there have been several accidents on that road."
The accident rate on Highway 29 was included in ODOT's project report for residents to review on Tuesday. 88 accidents were reported between 2006 and 2016, and 5 people have died in accidents during that time, which is twice the state average.
While upgrades for safety is important to ODOT, 7th Division Engineer Jay Earp says they are looking to improve all two-lane highways in the state.
And with ODOT's 7th Division headquarters being based in Duncan, they were well aware of the issues with Highway 29.
"We knew that there were accidents on this roadway," Earp said. "And we knew that there were curves and hills and valleys that offered bad sight distance, and we knew that there were no shoulders to pull over on."
In ODOT's 8-year plan, they are recommending building a new $26 million highway next to the existing highway that would include shoulders, and allow them to avoid steep hills and curves.
While this option is the least expensive and impacts the least number of landowners, some are still affected. Like Keck who says the new road will go straight through her home.
But she says they will sell ODOT the land and leave her home in order to improve a road that has been a problem for so long.
"We don't have a problem with it. If it's to better the road then it's no problem at all. Nothing," Keck said.
ODOT is still taking public comments on this project until July 28. If you want to submit a comment, go to the ODOT website to complete a forum that will be sent to ODOT.