Council approves I-44 pedestrian bridge funding - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Council approves I-44 pedestrian bridge funding

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - The Lawton City Council voted unanimously to fund the pedestrian bridge over I-44 on Gore Boulevard on Tuesday night’s meeting. Last year, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation awarded the city of Lawton half of the $1.3 million dollars for the bridge project, but the city needed to come up with the other half.

What made Councilman Keith Jackson ask about a possible pedestrian bridge were the worries of people crossing the four-lane interstate and getting hit and killed along with worries of people crossing at the unsafe vehicle bridge. That had the council wanting the city management to find credible sources of money for this project.

"I understand people, first of all, shouldn't be crossing a busy four lane highway,” Jackson said. “They shouldn't. But they are. And anything we can do to help prevent that, and giving them the opportunity to go down a few feet to cross on the pedestrian walkway to provide a little more safety we've got to do that."

The city manager's office found the source for the $600,000 to add to the $700,000 ODOT is providing for the bridge.

$200,000 is coming from the Fund 35 Bicycle/Trailway account, $100,000 from the 2008 CIP excess savings, and $200,000 from the 2012 CIP excess savings.

City Manager Jerry Ihler said projects that are completed under budget or use grants to save money allow them to have these excess savings to use on other projects like the bridge.

And they will use $100,000 from the ADA compliance funds from the 2015 Sales Tax Extension.

"This will be an ADA compliant project,” Ihler said. “It'll provide safe passage for those who may need an ADA compliant requirements."

Councilman Jackson said he understands some residents do not want taxpayer money to be used for this bridge, but he says his goal is the same as when he started this project.

"This is a safety hazard,” Jackson said. “It's a life or death issue if you ask me. Yes, there are streets all over town, sidewalks all over town. There are all kinds of problems that we are trying to address on a day to day basis but this is just one of the next steps that we are trying to address for people's safety."

During the city council meeting, Councilman Jay Burk announced the Comanche Nation will work to move Laurie Tatum road, the temporary light at the Gore Boulevard intersection, and work to connect the sidewalks to the pedestrian bridge. He said hopefully that will also make the intersection safer for pedestrians.

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