New Canadian County commissioner pushes for SH-66/Banner upgrade

Permanent four-way stop with new signage, striping planned

Tom Manske

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A new Canadian County commissioner is confident that a long-awaited permanent upgrade to make a high-profile intersection safer will start in 2023.

The State Highway 66 and Banner Road area – just west of Yukon – is in first-year County Commissioner Tom Manske’s district.

Since SH-66 is a state highway, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) will hire a contractor to make improvements to this intersection.

“I have been progressive about working to get ODOT with us on the Banner-Highway 66 intersection,” District 1 Commissioner Manske said during the April 4th Yukon Legislative Breakfast.

The goal is to make it safer for all motorists – including large truck traffic and Canadian Valley Technology Center students – who use that intersection.

“It gets really dark there so our plan is to increase the lighting, upgrade the ‘four-way stop’ there since people are used to that, add rumble bumps, clean up the signage, and put in some flashing lights,” Manske said.

“I’m still working out the details with the Department of Transportation.”

Once the permanent upgrade project is finished, Canadian County District 1 will help maintain the intersection.

Manske supports SH-66/Banner Road remaining as an all-way stop control.

Other design alternatives previously suggested were to install a single-lane roundabout or a fully signalized intersection, both of which would be more costly.

Manske, starting his fourth month as District 1 commissioner, is seeking other improvements along Banner Road between SH-66 and Interstate 40. Canadian County is responsible for a large part of this section, he noted.

“We’re already in the process of visiting with engineers about upgrading that and making it safer,” he said. “We are in discussions with the Department of Transportation.

“Our ultimate goal is to make that straighter with better pavement. It’s pretty rough right now. It’s pretty tore up.”

If funds are available, Manske also hopes a new bridge will be installed on the north side of SH-66 at Banner Road.

A resolution must be approved by ODOT officials and Canadian County commissioners before work begins.

“I would like to get some kind of progress started this year,” he said. “That’s my personal goal.”

ODOT spokeswoman Lisa Shearer Salim shared the department’s determination to make the SH-66/Banner Road area safer for the traveling public.

“We are reviewing a resolution from the Canadian County commissioners in which the county has requested the intersection become a permanent four-way stop,” Salim said.

“It will most likely move from the May tentative bid opening, but it will go to bid this year as soon as we get everything reviewed and agreed upon.”

The intersection had been the site of dozens of serious traffic collisions – including several deadly crashes – over several decades.

ODOT made “interim” safety improvements after a collision in November 2019 that killed Yukon businessman Ray Davis.

In February 2020, the intersection was reconfigured to an all-way stop with flashing red beacons in all directions.

“People are used to it now and it flows pretty well,” Manske noted. “You haven’t heard of any accidents there since.”

Other temporary upgrades were to close one approach lane and install rumble strips and advance warning signs.

Previously, only traffic on Banner Road was required to stop at the intersection and there was no control for eastbound and westbound traffic on SH-66.

Flashing beacons had faced each approach, flashing red toward Banner Road and yellow toward SH-66.

In June 2020, Canadian County Commissioners approved an agreement with ODOT for an “intersection modification” project at SH-66 and Banner Road.

That agreement called for ODOT to cover a construction cost “of up to $450,000” from the state’s traffic safety funds.



Also at the Yukon Chamber’s April Legislative Breakfast, Yukon City Manager Tammy Kretchmar asked Commissioner Manske about the status of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding requests.

Twelve entities in Canadian County – including three municipalities and three rural water districts – have formally applied to Canadian County commissioners for shares of Canadian County’s $28.8 million ARPA federal stimulus award.

“We hope to be moving on that within the next month or so to get something done,” Manske replied. “We will be supporting almost everybody that has submitted (requests).

“We haven’t made a decision.”

Canadian County commissioners have nearly $12.2 million left to distribute. The 12 formal requests total more than $16.5 million – with the City of Yukon seeking $4.35 million of that.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Manske said he’s been working with municipalities in District 1 on interlocal agreements for road projects.


Annual City of Yukon budget talks are getting ready to ramp up.

The fiscal year 2023-24 budget is due to take effect July 1.

City administrators and department directors are now preparing budget proposals that will be presented to the Yukon City Council at a Tuesday, May 9 budget hearing.

After any revisions are made, council members will consider adopting the new budget document at their June 6th meeting.

“It has to be passed by the end of June so we can start on July 1,” Kretchmar explained.

Yukon’s city manager updated Legislative Breakfast attendees on capital projects.

Noteworthy is phase two of the State Highway 4 project, from Main Street (SH-66) north to the new Canadian River bridge. Contractor Schwarz Paving is expected to start construction this summer.

Work recently started on the “new” Freedom Trail Playground and splash pad with completion due this fall.



Yukon Chamber of Commerce CEO Pam Shelton invited April’s Legislative Breakfast crowd to attend and support the Chamber’s awards gala and auction.

“I Love Rock and Roll” is the theme of the annual festivities set 6-11 p.m. Friday, April 21 at the Palace Event Center, 2310 N Banner Road.

“We’ve already got more tables sold this year than last,” Shelton said. “It is going to be a blast. It’s going to be lots of fun.”

Award nominations were due April 7. Highlight will be the announcement of the H.B. Frank Citizens of the Year.

Auction items are still being accepted for the upcoming gala.

Shelton offered special kudos to the Yukon Chamber’s first “Headliner” presenting sponsor Lynn North of TruNorth Agency and “World Tour” sponsor Air Comfort Solutions.

Meanwhile, the Yukon Chamber will award some $7,000 in scholarships to high school graduates this spring.