By Conrad Dudderar
Construction of a new $17 million interchange on Interstate 40 has been delayed several months and is now expected to start next summer.
City Manager Jim Crosby updated the public and council members this week on the Frisco Road interchange project after citing concerns about the utility relocation required before construction kicks off.
City officials have been waiting to hear from two utility companies – Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Dobson Technologies – on when they expect to finish moving their utilities so the new interchange can be built.
“Their completion date is the first week of March of 2020,” Crosby said at Tuesday night’s city council meeting. “Seeing that will be completed at that time, that (project) will not be bid until after that date.”
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will solicit bids from contractors for the construction of the new interchange. City officials had projected that bids would be solicited in January.
With the delay in finalizing utility relocation, Crosby estimated construction would probably begin “sometime in June of next year.”
A blend of state and federal Department of Transportation funds will cover 65 percent of the estimated $17 million construction cost. The City of Yukon’s share will be 35 percent.
City officials believe construction will take 18-24 months to complete, depending on weather.
Delays in a large project like the Frisco Road Interchange are inevitable, according to Mayor Mike McEachern.
“It’s always frustrating when things don’t go exactly as scheduled,” McEachern said. “But this is not necessarily unexpected.
“Very few projects like this are completed on budget and on time. There’s always some kind of hiccup … something we don’t anticipate.”
Yukon’s mayor referred to “so many people” and “entities” involved in the Frisco Road interchange project – federal and state government agencies, property owners, utility companies, and more.
“I fully well expected there would be delays,” McEachern said. “Sustainable growth rarely happens on time.”
In a related item, the city council Tuesday night delayed action on an interlocal cooperative agreement between the cities of Yukon and Oklahoma City for the new Frisco Road interchange. The new I-40 interchange will include property in both Yukon and Oklahoma City limits.
POST-CZECH DAY CLEANLINESS
Near the end of Tuesday night’s city council meeting, Ward 2 Council Member Shelli Selby thanked Yukon city employees for their efforts to keep downtown clean after Yukon’s 54th annual Czech Day on Saturday, Oct. 5.
Selby noticed there was “no litter on Main Street” the morning after the epic Czech cultural celebration, which brought tens of thousands of people to town.
Meanwhile, Mayor McEachern announced upcoming events – notably Southwest Covenant Schools’ 14th Annual Patriot Project on Nov. 1 at the Yukon park complex. More than 800 volunteers helped spruce up the city parks last year.