Garth Brooks Trail construction starts

Council members share traffic concerns due to lane closure

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Representatives of the City of Yukon, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, contractor Parathon Construction and design engineer Lee Engineering participate in an Aug. 3rd ribbon cutting to signify the start of the Garth Brooks Trail project. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Construction has started on a new multi-use trail along Garth Brooks Boulevard funded largely through a federal grant.

As an Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) contractor began work this week, city council members expressed concerns since one lane will be closed during the project.

The Garth Brooks Trail will be 1.033 miles of multi-use trail and sidewalk constructed on the east side of the roadway from just north of Walgreens to Main Street (Hwy 66).

The City of Yukon is paying a 20% local share of the $839,423.48 cost. The other 80% is covered through federal grant funds.

City of Yukon park maintenance director/grant writer Claudia Krshka

The City of Yukon wanted to install this new trail to “improve walkability and quality of life for Yukon residents,” said Claudia Krshka, the city’s park maintenance director and grant writer.

“This will provide a safe route for trail users to traverse north and south down Garth Brooks in this 1.033-mile section.”

The Garth Brooks Trail project will feature a 10-inch-wide concrete trail, landscaping, drainage, grading, and paving. Crosswalk improvements will be made at the Garth Brooks Boulevard/Vandament intersection.

Parathon crews began work this week on the south side of the project near Vandament Avenue.

The state contractor – who was awarded the project this spring – started Aug. 2 and has 180 days to complete the new trail.

The inside northbound lane of Garth Brooks Boulevard will be closed during construction, City Manager Tammy Kretchmar told city council members this week.

“They’re only going to block 200 feet and take that one lane out,” Kretchmar explained. “They’re only going to detour that area.”

With vehicle traffic typically heavy along Garth Brooks Boulevard before and after school, Mayor Shelli Selby said she had hoped the work could have been done before school started.

The first day of the 2021-22 school year is Thursday, Aug. 12.

“There’s a lot of traffic there in the mornings and afternoons,” At-Large City Council Member Jeff Wootton said. “It’s busy as it is.

“On a normal school day, traffic is backed up sometimes almost to 7-Eleven on Vandament.”

Vice Mayor Rick Cacini and Ward 3 Council Member echoed the same sentiment, proclaiming, “You won’t be able to go down the street.”

Vehicles are regularly lined up along northbound Garth Brooks Boulevard from Vandament to the Yukon Middle School entrance to pick up and drop off students.

Yukon police officers will help with increased traffic control in this area because of the lane closure, according to Kretchmar.

“We’re aware of it and we will be ‘on it’,” she assured council members.

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GRANT AWARD

The City of Yukon in 2017 was awarded a Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) grant through the Association of Central Oklahoma Governments (ACOG) for this new trail.

These funds were made available from the Federal Surface Transportation Program (STP).

“The grant paid for 80% of the construction cost, with a cap of $515,960,” Krshka said.

ODOT is responsible for management and construction of certain federally funded projects – this project being one.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission on April 5 awarded Parathon Construction LLC the contract. Six other companies submitted bids ranging from $924,606.95 and $1,251,489.07.

Lee Engineering is the design engineer.

The Garth Brooks Trail will be the second grant-funded, multi-use trail built along Yukon city streets.

Crossland Heavy Contractors in early 2020 completed a new concrete trail stretching 1.75 miles from Dickenson Park at First and Poplar to Yukon’s east edge on Lakeshore Drive.

Federal funds also covered 80% of the $827,647.33 project cost.

Crossland bid $1,122,771 for the Garth Brooks Trail project.