Claremore Daily Progress

September 13, 2011

Words to the wise: Stay away from Highway 66 in Verdigris

Larry Larkin

VERDIGRIS — For the ones of you who have been involved in the mess already will know what I am talking about.  For the rest of you, please take warning.  The following could probably save a lot of stress.

STAY AWAY from Highway 66 on both sides of Verdigris!

This is especially true in the east lane (it is actually pointed more north) in the afternoons.  Go the Will Rogers Turnpike or around by Owasso and then Highway 20.  Going to Inola on 412 and coming back Highway 88 is even better.  By going 266 across the Port could have helped some, but this would put you in the middle of the mess.

On Monday the home-bound traffic on 66 was lined up bumper to bumper from the Flint Road traffic light alllllll the way back to within rock throwing distance of the Verdigris River.  Honest.

Road construction had it closed to one lane most of the way.  One of the river’s bridges being down causes some of the problem, but why is one lane closed all the way back toward Verdigris and points beyond?

This is certainly a good question during the afternoon jam on Monday.  Okay, there was a lone street sweeper going back and forth on the closed lane throwing dust up on all the cars waiting in line, but couldn’t this be done when the traffic is not so heavy?

Also we had one of Oklahoma’s finest Highway Patrol cars running back and forth in the lane also.  What his purpose might have been is anyone’s guess.  He had his red and blue lights flashing on top. If he was looking for speeders, he was wasting both his time and the state’s gasoline. 

Granted due to the work being done along that stretch somewhere traffic would need to go to a single lane.  It would seem this officer could do more good being at that point directing traffic.  Why have the traffic lights holding up the majority of vehicles for the time periods when few if any vehicles are coming off the side roads?

Sure by opening and closing that second lane during the rush period would take a little extra effort.  This is done elsewhere, however. 

Here is another question:  What good will this road construction actually accomplish? 

When finished it will still be a four-lane highway just like before.  The road may be smoother for awhile, but the holes will return sooner or later.  They always do.