LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - An $8.3 million road project is set to begin before the end of 2017, resulting in major upgrades to one east Lawton road.
Construction will take place on Southeast 45th Street, between Lee Boulevard and Gore Boulevard. Currently, the road is only two lanes, but when the project is complete, there will be four lanes with a fifth lane in the middle serving as a turn lane. The project is expected to be completed in less than a year.
If you've ever driven down this road chances are you've seen somebody walking right in the street. There is currently no sidewalk but the new road will have a five-foot wide bike lane and a six-foot wide sidewalk on each side.
City of Lawton Engineer Mohammad Azim said he thinks the new road will be great for the families living on the East side.
"The schools are there so the kids walk down that road and right now there is no sidewalk. So this sidewalk will help with safety so I think this is going to be a very good thing," Azim said.
The project is funded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Azim said it's something the city discussed for nearly a decade.
"I think if you have seen the condition of the roadway right now...it needs attention," Azim said.
In planning this project, Azim said they were also planning for the future.
"There was a traffic study done and well into the future, you know 20 or 30 or 35 years, in that time frame, the traffic is going to increase so they want to have the area available for traffic movement," Azim said.
If you've driven down the road, you might be wondering how 3 more lanes, plus a bike lane and a sidewalk could possibly fit in such a small area. Azim said they've talked to the landowners in the area and they have that covered.
"Some of the houses, especially on the West side, the road is going to be closer to the houses. We had to get right-aways from them, the city negotiated with them, they signed, they're fine with it. We came to an agreement and they don't have any problems with it. They signed the agreement and sold the right-aways when it was necessary," Azim said.
With any construction project, you can expect some delays but there is a plan in place that will hopefully minimize that. The road will remain open throughout the entirety of the construction.