By Conrad Dudderar
The Yukon City Council and Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) hosted a ground-breaking ceremony on Wednesday, Jan. 15 for the State Highway 4 project.
Although work is set to begin next Monday, the greatest traffic impact during the first phase of State Highway 4 construction won’t be seen until this spring on the north end of the project.
Contractor crews from Manhattan Road & Bridge of Tulsa on Jan. 20 are due to begin construction along SH-4 between Wagner Road and Wilshire Boulevard in Yukon city limits.
The ODOT contractor was awarded a $13,135,000 contract for this much-anticipated project along the well-traveled state roadway.
“(Drivers) are not going to see a tremendous amount of impact to traffic right away because they’re building the new bridge parallel to the existing highway,” ODOT spokesman Lisa Shearer-Salim said.
The largest impact during this phase one construction will be later this spring when crews start work at the SH-4/Wilshire intersection, where left-turn bays will be added.
“Motorists can expect that those lanes will be narrowed and shifted,” Shearer-Salim said. “There will be some traffic ‘switches’ back and forth as they work in phases on all four sections of the intersection.
“They’re really going to want to pay close attention and be prepared for delays in that area. … By spring, there will be activity on that north end of the project.”
The first phase of SH-4 project is expected to take about a year to complete.
SHOULDERS WILL ADD SAFETY
This is the first of two phases of the SH-4 project, which will feature wider lanes with shoulders and new bridges.
“They’re going to add the shoulders, which is going to significantly improve safety especially in that area where you have that drop-off on one side,” Shearer-Salim said. “It’s going to be a significant improvement for motorists who, for whatever reason, have to pull over. They will now have room to do so once that’s constructed.”
Drivers along Highway 4 are reminded that the speed limit will be reduced in the area during the upcoming extended construction.
“They should plan accordingly,” Shearer-Salim said. “The speed limit is now 55 and it will be reduced to 35. As they get further into the intersection modifications and some of that area is shifted, it may even be reduced to 25 on that north end of the project.
“We set speeds at the highest limit we believe is safe for drivers to navigate the work zone.”
Over the next couple years, SH-4 will be rebuilt all the way from State Highway 66 (Main Street) to Wilshire on Yukon’s north boundary.
The second phase of construction will be from Wagner Road (at the North Canadian River bridge) to SH-66. The City of Yukon already has started the process of acquiring rights-of-way from property owners for phase two.
The City is responsible for acquiring right-of-way and 20 percent of utility relocation costs for the SH-4 project.