New Yukon interchange open to traffic

Dedication Friday morning at I-40/Frisco Road overpass

Holding a pair of oversized scissors, Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby prepares to “cut the ribbon” alongside Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz during a dedication ceremony Aug. 27 to mark the opening of the new Interstate 40/Frisco Road interchange. The interchange project has been a partnership among the City of Yukon, Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

Yukon’s new interchange partially opened to traffic Friday afternoon.

But contractor crews still have a couple more weeks of work left before the Interstate 40/Frisco Road interchange project is complete.

Sherwood Construction of Tulsa is finishing up the new interchange at I-40-mile marker 135.

Representatives of the contractor, City of Yukon, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Canadian County, and engineer TEIM Design participated in a ribbon cutting ceremony Aug. 27 to dedicate the new interchange.

State and city officials believe the Frisco Road interchange will help alleviate traffic congestion along Garth Brooks Boulevard.

They also are confident the new interchange at I-40 will promote economic development on Yukon’s west side.

Friday morning’s interchange dedication was “10 years in the making,” Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby said.

“Many Yukon leaders have banded together over the past decade to see this happen, and it’s finally here,” Selby said. “This interchange will mean so much to our community, opening up many opportunities for growth.”

Yukon’s I-40/Frisco Road interchange is one mile west of Garth Brooks Boulevard.

City leaders and developers envision hotels, restaurants and other sales tax-generating retailers in Yukon city limits.

ODOT in July 2020 awarded Sherwood Construction a $14,061,010.28 contract to build the Frisco Road/I-40 interchange.

Among participants in Friday’s ribbon cutting was businessman Rick Opitz, who was a member of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce board and later the Yukon City Council when plans for this interchange were first developed.

“This project will be paramount for our community with all the tax revenue it brings into the City of Yukon for years and years to come,” said Opitz, who owns property on both north and south sides of the new interchange.

“This is going to open up the area where they’ll be much more commerce and attraction to the west side of Yukon.”

A Yukon Fire Department ladder truck displays a large American flag during Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Frisco Road bridge over I-40: From left, Yukon Assistant City Manager Mitchell Hort, Ward 4 City Council Member Aric Gilliland, Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby, Ward 3 City Council Member Donna Yanda, Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar, Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz, and Vice Mayor Rick Cacini. Not pictured is At-Large Council Member Jeff Wootton. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

ODOT Director Tim Gatz said the I-40/Frisco Road interchange project is a “true example of a partnership” among a community, the state Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration.

Oklahoma’s transportation secretary specifically thanked the City of Yukon for their participation.

Yukon Mayor Shelli Selby speaks during Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony. Selby believes the new interchange will spur significant economic development on Yukon’s west side. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

“A project like this is rare because the Department of Transportation is focused entirely on taking care of mainline Interstate 40 out here,” Gatz said to the crowd at Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony.

“Our ability to construct a project like this and introduce a new access point onto the interstate system, does not happen without the partnership of the community – them coming to the table with insight, a great explanation of the needs at this location and resources.”

In anticipation of the improved highway access, the City of Yukon had widened Frisco Road to four lanes between I-40 and Main Street (SH-66).

Meanwhile, Gatz reminded motorists to remain alert while traveling in the I-40/Frisco Road construction zone as the contractor finishes up “punch list” items over the next few weeks.

ODOT and the City of Yukon are sharing the cost of the construction, with 65% in state funds and a 35% local match. The City of Yukon contributed to right-of-way acquisition, utility relocation and design.

Sherwood Construction’s bid to build the Frisco Road/I-40 interchange was nearly $2.7 million below the ODOT engineer’s $16,738,908.02 estimate.

The final cost is expected to be about $14.1 million, Sherwood project superintendent Jacob Parker said.

The last Oklahoma interchange to open was El Reno’s I-40/Radio Road interchange in 2016.

The first vehicles to drive over the new Interstate 40/Frisco Road interchange in Yukon head southbound after Friday morning’s dedication ceremony. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

Read more about the Aug. 27th dedication ceremony and opening of the I-40/Frisco Road interchange in an upcoming edition of The Yukon Progress.