Keetonville Hill — which sees over 11,500 vehicles daily — will be realigned and widened with construction expected to start in the spring.
The $44 million State Highway 20 project through Claremore was awarded to Emery Sapp and Sons Incorporated during the December Oklahoma Transportation Commission meeting.
“We’re certainly excited to be at this point.” Oklahoma Department of Transportation Public Information Manager Kenna Mitchell said.
The project on State Highway 20 will focus on not only realigning and widening the Keetonville Hill segment, but also widening South 4080 Road.
Mitchell said the project was awarded for 490 days and will take a year and a half to complete, weather permitting.
“We’re very excited to go in and get this out of the way,” she said.
South 4080 Rd will be widened to five lanes, picking up from where the road previously had been widened, and continue four miles east to South 40110 Road, also known as Franklin.
The stretch of road at Keetonville Hill will be widened to four lanes.
“The alignment will be south of the current alignment, but will be going over the hill,” Mitchell said. “The segment to the west will be a five-lane section with a turn lane in the center and two lanes for east and west.”
Mitchell said they will be working with the contractor to develop phases of the project and a timeline.
“Typically once a project is awarded, we would see a start of the project within three to four months,” she said. “So right now we don’t yet have the contractor’s schedule.”
Mitchell said they are anticipating a spring start, weather permitting.
“We will be maintaining traffic throughout the project,” she said. We won’t be shutting it down completely.”
Mitchell said the $44 million project is funded through a blend of federal and state funds.
Work began on the entire State Highway 20 corridor in 2000 when traffic began to increase and the surrounding areas began to grow.
Mitchell said they began searching for improvements and areas with critical needs throughout the entire corridor.
“While the whole corridor has been under study for 20 years, we’ve really been able to take a close look at what to do with it,” she said.
In 2016, ODOT held a public meeting in Claremore to begin the research for improvements, identify the needs of community and come up with the best solution.
“It’s definitely a big project for this region,” she said.
Mitchell said the reason they are fixing this stretch of the highway is, not only is it narrow and curves, but it also experiences landslides.
“From our standpoint of Keetonville Hill, it’s a very windy segment of the highway, so lots of curves that are right on the side of the hill,” she said. “The big thing for us is that it’s very high maintenance for us.”
Mitchell said Keetonville Hill is challenging because of where the highway is and having to do the full realignment.