LAWTON, OK (KSWO)-In the past several weeks you may have seen workers with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation putting up black fences along I-44 starting at Gore Boulevard and going down to Lee Boulevard. They are working with the City of Lawton to keep people from crossing the highway.
Putting fences along I-44 has been a project in the works since 2013. Council members reached out to ODOT to start the planning process.
"We worked with them to find the right design and to find the right fence for the area," said Roberts.
The fences are 8 feet tall, they stretch 11,000 feet I-44 on both sides of the interstate from Gore to Lee Boulevards. ODOT is funding the 450,000 project.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said in the past 5 years 3 people have been killed while trying to cross I-44.
"Its pretty scary we don't want any fatalities and pedestrian access to do. Not only does it affect the pedestrians but also our traffic in the area we don't want anybody to be injured," said Roberts.
Duncan Residency Manager for ODOT Colton Roberts said crossing the interstate to get to the casino is nothing new. Many people try to cross the I-44 and being a busy interstate with drivers traveling 70-plus, those people trying to cross have been lucky.
"There has been multiple near misses. We can't even count because there are so many we don't know about which is better than fatalities but still its not a great thing for anybody to be crossing the highway especially that speed and how busy it is," said Roberts.
City Manager Jerry Ihler said before the project started there was only a 3-strand barbed wired fence and it didn't stop people from getting over or around the fence. Ihler said he's pleased to have a working relationship with ODOT.
"It is a plus because they were able to get the fence up in a timely manner and two we were also able to obtain a grant for a pedestrian sidewalk with ODOT funding greater than 50 percent of the project," said Ihler.
Construction started in July and is expected to be complete in the next few weeks.