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Plans for downtown boulevard come under fire

Crosstown options

OKLAHOMA CITY – Plans to replace the old I-40 Crosstown with a downtown boulevard are once again under fire.

The debate centers on how to cross the boulevard with Western avenue.

The city has narrowed the design down to four options, one of which has earned the recommendation of planners.

At the same time, many business owners in the area worry the city is in danger of repeating the mistakes of the past.

“A new bridge we feel is a bad idea because it’s dividing the city,” business owner Joe Loomis said.

“I think they’d make a mistake to build the bridge back,” business owner Lefty Petsalis said.

The city has four possible designs for crossing the new boulevard at Western.

Option A calls for a new bridge over Western.

Option B is the opposite building the boulevard under Western.

Option C would build a signalized intersection.

Option D would construct a roundabout.

“I’m not in favor of any type of bridge, an overpass or an underpass,” Burt McAnally said.

“They need to make a nice intersection, no bridge anymore,” Petsalis said.

Despite those opinions, Option A, a new bridge over Western is exactly what’s being recommended by planners.

They said that design would keep traffic flowing more freely than a street level intersection.

The public meeting is set for Monday night at the Coca-Cola Event Center.

That’s when people will have the chance to give their feedback.

The city council will then take up the issue two weeks later.

Whatever the council decides, the hope is to begin construction next year.

CROSSTOWN CONSTRUCTION TRAFFIC UPDATE:

The following lanes will be closed Thursday evening for striping operations: 

·        Various lanes closed on westbound I-40 between Pennsylvania Ave. and I-44 from 7 p.m. Thursday to 5 a.m. Friday 
·        Westbound I-40 off-ramp to Agnew Ave. will close from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday 
·        Westbound I-40 off-ramp to eastbound I-44 will close from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Thursday 
·        Westbound I-40 off-ramp to westbound I-44 will close for a short duration from midnight to 3 a.m. Friday