By Conrad Dudderar
Upgrades to four intersections along N.W. 10th Street.
Widening part of Garth Brooks Boulevard to five lanes.
Reconstructing Yukon Parkway from Main Street to Wagner Road.
These are just three of a long list of possible street projects totaling $52.35 recently presented to a City of Yukon committee.
The Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board reviewed street infrastructure priorities at its second meeting March 31 inside the council chambers of the Centennial Building, 12 S 5th.
These street upgrades “have to be done – and they have to be funded,” said advisory board member Aric Gilliland, the Yukon City Council’s representative.
A 45-minute presentation featured Yukon city engineer Joe Davis of TEIM Design and Yukon Public Works Director Arnold Adams.
Davis started by providing cost estimates for improvements along two main corridors.
“We’re trying to identify and prioritize projects,” he said.
Projects identified on N.W. 10th from Garth Brooks Boulevard to Yukon Parkway total $17 million:
- Improved intersection with turn lanes and traffic signal improvements at Garth Brooks Boulevard ($5 million)
- New intersection with turn lanes and traffic signal improvements at Shedeck Parkway ($2.4 million)
- Improved intersection with turn lanes and traffic signal improvements at Cornwell Drive/Czech Hall Road interchange ($6.1 million)
- New intersection with turn lanes and traffic signal improvements at Bryce Canyon Court ($2.5 million)
- Complete trail/sidewalk connectivity on north side of street from Garth Brooks Boulevard to Yukon Parkway ($1 million)
“10th Street is the break between Oklahoma City and Yukon, down the section line,” Davis said. “There was an agreement done with Oklahoma City, though, that Yukon will manage all of 10th Street.”
N.W. 10th already has traffic congestion issues with development on both Yukon and Oklahoma City sides.
“The traffic is horrendous now on 10th Street,” Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar said, matter-of-factly.
The City of Oklahoma City has several proposed developments on the south side of N.W. 10th that will include an estimated 750 new apartment units, according to Kretchmar.
“That’s going to add even more traffic,” she said. “You think it’s bad now.”
Projects identified on Garth Brooks Boulevard from N.W. 10th to Vandament total $8.9 million:
- New turn lanes at Target Drive ($250,000)
- New turn lanes and phases at Health Center Parkway ($1.1 million)
- New dual turn lanes at the eastbound I-40 ramps ($600,000)
- New southbound thru lane from Andrew Drive to Health Center Parkway ($1.9 million)
- Trail/sidewalk connectivity on part of west side of street ($300,000)
- New dual turn lanes at the westbound I-40 ramps ($550,000)
- New turn lanes and phase at Andrews Drive ($400,000)
- Widen street to five lanes from westbound I-40 ramps to Vandament Avenue ($2.4 million)
- New dual turn lanes at Vandament Avenue ($1.2 million)
“This corridor has really ‘exploded’ in the last 15 years,” Davis said.
With development along N.W. 10th, Gilliland asked the city engineer to provide a cost estimate to extend the proposed Garth Brooks Boulevard thru lane from Health Center Parkway to 10th Street.
The cost opinions for N.W. 10th and Garth Brooks Boulevard include engineering, right-of-way acquisition, utilities, and construction.
With both corridors connecting to I-40, the state transportation department supports the proposed projects.
Yukon city leaders hope to secure funding through a federal infrastructure bill to help pay for priority road upgrades.
“If we don’t, those improvements still need to be made,” Kretchmar said.
Also included in the March 31st presentation was Yukon Public Works Director Arnold Adams, who shared a list of the “top 15” roadway projects with a combined estimated price tag of $26.35 million.
“None of these projects are funded at this time,” Adams said.
Ranked by priority, this list features:
- 1st Street from Oak to Vandament ($2.15 million)
- Wagner Road from Yukon Parkway to Sara Road ($3 million)
- Frisco Road from I-40 south to city limits ($3.1 million)
- Spruce Drive from Cornwell to Bass ($1.45 million)
- Holly from Poplar to N.W. 10th ($1.07 million)
- 3rd Street from Main Street to Oak ($480,000)
- Kingston Drive from Holly to Kingston Place ($230,000)
- Garth Brooks Boulevard from Main Street to Vandament ($1 million)
- Yukon Parkway from SH-66 to Wagner Road ($8 million)
- 4th Street from Main Street to Oak ($460,000)
- 5th Street from Main Street to Poplar ($620,000)
- 3rd Street from Poplar to Yukon Avenue ($530,000)
- Richland Road near Sunshine Road and river bridge ($260,000)
- Wilshire from Highway 4 to Sara Road ($3.8 million) – Yukon is in the process of de-annexing this road to Oklahoma City
- Vandament at Redbud intersection ($200,000)
Construction would take about five years, Adams said.
“I am working on assessing every street in Yukon, and we’re ranking those,” he told the advisory board. “Within the month, I will have a map with every street in Yukon with the ranking.
“We tried to prioritize a list of 15. We probably could have went to 100.”
Yukon’s public works director also shared approximate costs for potential repair projects on the city’s concrete ($37.4 million), asphalt ($17.6 million) and chip seal ($7 million) streets.
The City of Yukon maintains 380 lane miles of road – 297 miles of concrete, 55 miles of asphalt and 28 miles of chip seal.
In Yukon’s corporate limits, the state transportation department maintains Highway 4 and Highway 66.
AUGUST OR JANUARY?
The Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board was created to make recommendations to the Yukon City Council on which capital improvement projects to include on a possible election ballot.
Board members are reviewing feedback provided by Yukon residents in community surveys and town hall meetings last fall.
Yukon city officials are looking at an election either this August or in January 2023 to fund capital projects.
Other possible projects are a new library, community center, third fire station, water and sewer improvements, and multi-generational sports park/recreation facilities.
The advisory board is leaning toward recommending a dedicated sales tax increase to fund new capital projects, like Oklahoma City has done with its MAPS program.
The other funding option is a property tax hike.
Yukon’s overall sales tax rate is 8.85%, which includes a state tax of 4.5% and Canadian County tax of .35%.
The City of Yukon receives revenues from the remaining 4% – of which 2% is earmarked for a PEST (Public Employees Sales Tax) account and reserve fund.
“We figured if we did a 1% sales tax, it would bring in approximately $6 million a year,” Kretchmar told advisory board members.
Through lease revenue bonds, the City of Yukon could start projects before new sales tax proceeds accumulate.
Increases in sales tax collections have helped a lot with capital improvements, but Yukon’s city manager noted it’s not enough to fund these new projects like a multi-generational community center.
“All of our infrastructure is old – that goes for our roads and our buildings,” Kretchmar said. “We don’t have enough money to put in our budget to do a facelift.
“Right now, all we’re doing is repair things as they become broken.”
Some $100,000 will be budgeted next fiscal year for asphalt/concrete road repairs and $100,000 for street striping.
“That really doesn’t go very far,” Kretchmar said.
If the State Legislature passes a bill to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries, she believes this would help Yukon.
Advisory board Vice Chairman Linda Reynolds warned against “sending people out of our city” by raising the sales tax rate too much.
“Right now, everybody’s noticing every penny,” Reynolds said. “We have to make sure we don’t push our citizens too hard.”
The City of Yukon’s financial advisor is due to make a presentation about sales tax and debt service at an upcoming Yukon Capital Project Advisory Board meeting.