The Claremore City Council  approved a maintenance agreement with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) Monday for the anticipated Highway 20 and Clubhouse/Southaven Road Project.

ODOT’s 8-Year Capital Plan includes improvements to the intersection.

“They plan to add turn lanes, basically making it a four-lane section (of road),” said City Engineer Chris Cochran.

They also will widen the highway at the Trailwood Drive intersection by Westside Elementary, Cochran said.

ODOT will place a traffic signal at the widened intersection at Trailwood and replace the current signal at Clubhouse/Southaven Road.

Funding for the entire project will be provided by ODOT.

“The agreement is similar to those made on past projects completed with ODOT funds,” Cochran said. “It identifies ODOT as being responsible for preparing plans, hiring a contractor, and hiring a construction inspector. It requires the city to be responsible for operation and maintenance and spells out the terms in the event the signal is no longer needed.”

Construction is expected to start in 2015 or 2016, according to Cochran.

“We’re still a little ways out,” he said. “They are still acquiring right of way and relocating utilities, so we’re at least a year away.”

The council also accepted several Deeds of Dedication and temporary easements for the King Road Widening Project.

It calls for King Road — where Catalayah Elementary is located — to be widened between Highway 66 and Southaven Road.

On the north side of the existing road, a new lane will be added, the ditches improved, and a sidewalk constructed, Cochran said.

The improvements will be similar to those made by Claremore Public Schools during the construction of Catalayah.

On the south side, a two-foot shoulder will be added and the ditch improved.

In addition, the hill in front of Rehoboth Baptist Church will be lowered to improve safety and sight distance, according to Cochran.

“The project will require additional right of way from all adjoining property owners,” Cochran said. “Agreeable terms have been reached with the majority of property owners.”

Discussions continue with the remaining two property owners.

Regardless, Cochran said, Tri-State Engineering — who designed the project — and city staff are working with the utility companies to begin relocating utilities in the currently available right of way.

“The goal is to begin construction during the school summer break, but right of way and utilities may delay some or all of the construction,” Cochran said.

The city has partnered with the Cherokee Nation to fund the project, an investment of $500,000 between the two entities.

“We’re hoping it’s going to alleviate a lot of traffic congestion on that road and make it safer for the kids going to Catalayah Elementary,” said City Manager Jim Thomas. “It’s much warranted...We just want to move this thing along.”

In other business, Thomas announced a special meeting will take place at 6 p.m. Monday to interview candidates for the open Ward IV seat, vacated by Bill Flanagan when he was appointed Mayor on Dec. 23.

Persons interested in being appointed should submit a letter of interest to the council by noon Friday. Thomas said three letters had been received so far.

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