Claremore Daily Progress

State/Nation

September 17, 2013

Partnership to develop plan for Rt. 66, State Hwy. 20 alignment

CLAREMORE —

Claremore City Manager Jim Thomas and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Division 8 Engineer Randle White met with the Rogers County Builders Association and city department officials Monday to discuss a developing plan to link Rt. 66 to State Highway 20. 
In a meeting with Deputy Chief Engineer Gary Evans in December 2012, Thomas introduced the concept of elevating the railroad track at Country Club Road, perpendicular to Walmart, and having traffic go underneath, eventually meeting E. 500 Road before heading north to Highway 20.
“I wanted to keep our attention to traffic near Wal-Mart and the Claremore Plaza area, but also keep traffic in the downtown area,” said Thomas. 
Claremore and ODOT originally had a plan to build a railroad overpass in the downtown area to include a clover leaf intersection.
The City of Claremore ended up spending upwards of $1 million in the development of plans and eventually did not go through with them. During that time, Claremore was able to obtain more than $30 million in federal money for the track elevation, said Thomas.
“The decision was made to scrap that idea from a financial standpoint, aesthetic standpoint and the fact that the public wasn’t supportive of the idea.”
He said the city is “picking up 100 percent of the tab” for a new environmental assessment along Highway 66 from Archer Drive to Country Club and then north to Highway 20. The estimated cost will be about $300,000.
“The planned route will end up taking out some properties in the developed neighborhood, north of W. Country Club Road, and we will need to take about 30 feet off the top of the hill,” said Thomas. “An ODOT transportation commission will conduct the environmental assessment, which will take between 18 months and two years to complete.
“The goal is to identify environment issues, for example as an Native American burial ground or endangered species and move alignment to accomodate in the best way possible,” said White. 

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