Construction on the $44 million project of realigning Highway 20 on Keetonville Hill has begun.
“In this project, all work is concurrent and broken apart into specific phases,” Oklahoma Department of Transportation Public Information Manager Kenna Mitchell said. “However there are two different aspects of project; the widening work west of Keetonville Hill and constructing the new alignment over Keetonville Hill.”
Mitchell said the overall widening and realignment project at Keetonville Hill is expected to complete in late summer 2022, weather permitting.
“It’s only a few weeks of being underway, and the progress is good so far,” she said. “This week, crews started using controlled charges on the eastern end of the project to help remove rock from the route of the new alignment. This type of work will be ongoing as the new path is cleared.”
Claremore City Manager John Feary said once the realignment of SH20 over Keetonville Hill is complete, then ODOT will move to the next phase of the project — relocating SH20 through town.
The Claremore section of the project will divert Highway 20 south of the town with exits at Country Club Road, Southaven Road, and Flint and King Roads, before connecting to the Will Rogers Turnpike.
Construction will include an overpass over the BNSF rail line and Route 66.
ODOT will start construction of the new SH20 through town in two projects.
Feary said the first project that will go out to bid will be from Fredrick Road to South Haven Road. The second portion of the project will be from South Haven Road to Franklin Road.
“Both of those projects, they have a 300-day construction time,” he said.
Feary said they will be going on concurrently.
Feary said there are some water lines and electric utility that needs to be moved — on the south end of Fredrick Road, close to King Road — before ODOT can begin working.
The estimated cost of relocating the electric utilities is $690,000, but Feary said 60 percent will be reimbursed by ODOT.
The estimated cost of relocating the water lines is $504,000, with 97 percent reimbursed by ODOT.
Feary said the reason the reimbursement percentages are different is because they will be relocating the electric lines underground.
“We’re willing to pay more to get it underground whereas they would pay the majority of it if we just relocated it above ground,” he said. “It will be better for our future, reliability as well as our customers if it’s underground.”
The costs from the projects will be paid with funds from the 2019 Revenue Note.
Feary said the project has been sent to bid and will start shortly.
“They’ll be out of the way when ODOT starts their work,” he said. “That’s part of the phasing.”
Feary said SH20 project will abundantly improve transportation throughout the city.
“We will finally have an overpass over the BNSF rail line and Highway 66 on the south end of town,” he said. “Another thing that that does for us is open up for a lot of future residential and commercial development on that west side of 66 without being disconnected from everything on the east side and from town.”
Feary said this construction will allow drivers to bypass narrow streets.
Feary said this couldn’t be done without the great relationship with ODOT.
“I am very thankful to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Authority because they are making an investment in Rogers County’s future,” he said.
Feary said in the next two to three years, ODOT is going to be spending about a quarter of a billion dollars in Rogers County.