By Andrew L. Basden
The Newcastle Pacer
Senator Paul Scott recently made a visit to Newcastle with Director of Oklahoma Department of Transportation Mike Patterson to confirm state Highway 76 updates.
“We are very appreciative of Senator Paul Scott for initiating this visit on-site by the director of ODOT Mike Patterson,” said Mayor Gene Reid.
The main focus of this visit was the expansion of a portion of SH 76 between SH 37 and SH 130. Patterson along with some of his staff met with Scott, Reid, State Rep. Bobby Cleveland and City Council Member Mike Fullerton.
They began at the intersection of SH 76 and SH 37 traveling south. As they drove down the highway they were inspecting the width of the road, intersections and other details. After finishing their inspection of the road, Patterson reaffirmed their commitment to this project.
“ODOT shared with us that they are now looking at making highway 76 a three lane road,” said Reid.
A three lane road would mean that north and south bound traffic would still have one lane and then a shared center lane for vehicles trying to make a left hand turn. Shoulders are also being added.
ODOT is planning on updating the double stop sign turn lane at SH 76 and SH 37.
“The double stop sign turn lane at 76 and 37 is a temporary solution until ODOT can make the improvements to that intersection,” said Reid.
The improvements that ODOT has planned so far include an extended merge lane for cars merging from north SH 76 onto east SH 37. ODOT will determine the length of the merge lane at a later time.
State Highway 76 was the main focus of their discussion with a few other items added in as well. ODOT touched on the subject of SH 76 being a state highway. Any state highway from curb to curb is the responsibility of ODOT, the city has no authority to make any changes to it.
“We touched on the topic of a need for a left hand turn lane from SH 130 on to US 62 and also we visited the possibility of putting in a cross walk there as well,” said Reid.
The proposal for the intersection at SH 130 and SH 62 is pending future plans by ODOT. However ODOT can not make updates to that intersection until the city increases the width of the intersection to the proper dimensions required.
“A special thanks to ODOT for working with us and hopefully when Oklahoma’s economy improves when can get the SH 76 project moved up. We still have work to do concerning the school cross walks. ODOT is working with the city of Newcastle to help expedite the cross walks. I appreciate the mayor and councilman Fullerton for staying on top of these two issues. It’s an honor to be a part of the growth that Newcastle is experiencing, “ Cleveland said.
Crews have begun working on the utilities and right away on SH 76, however the actual road widening project isn’t scheduled to begin until 2022.