“I’ll tell them when it’s a done deal,” Hundreds turn out for turnpike reveal

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OKLAHOMA - Harrah Church bursts at the seams with hundreds eager to see the new eastern Oklahoma County turnpike route.

Thursday was the third and final public meeting for the controversial toll road.

The meeting gave residents in the Harrah, Jones, Luther, Choctaw and other areas a chance to speak one on one with engineers.

Though the engineers nor the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority would speak on camera, plenty of people in attendance wanted their voices heard.

"I think this is a politician's way to pull the wool over everybody's eyes," said Jim Fetherolf, proudly holding his protest sign. "This isn't right."

The final map has been months in the making, deviating slightly from previous routes.

The OTA said, in a statement Wednesday, 80 rooftops will be affected:

"Thanks to the input of the public and the diligent work of engineering professionals, the Driving Forward Northeast Oklahoma County Loop project is on track to improve public safety on Oklahoma's roadways and for local communities. This has been a collaborative process, and the design alignment presented today is the culmination of more than 1,000 public comments provided to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority through previous public meetings, phone calls, written and online communications. These comments have been used by engineers to identify a route that fulfills all of the criteria for a new alignment. This design alignment serves as the best way for us to connect Eastern Oklahoma County to vital intersections for travel, while minimizing the impact on rooftops, existing property and the environment. Thanks to the public's aid, engineers have brought the total number of affected rooftops down from 103 to 80. This design alignment represents a 22 percent reduction in the number of rooftops impacted in Eastern Oklahoma County, compared to previously presented alignments. We look forward to advancing this project to provide a safer and an improved means of transportation throughout our great state."

Families now left hanging in the balance include Johnny Schofield.

"They changed it,"  Schofield said. "It's going right through my house - my house, where my kids were basically raised, rode ponies all their lives, over thirty years of memories."

Though the meeting was filled with a vocal 'anti-turnpike' majority, some see a chance for change and opportunity for innovation.

"I'm ready to sell my property. Let them build the turnpike," said Jay Flynn. "I think it'll be good for this area."

Still, others continue their fight as time runs out.

"The OTA says it's a done deal," said David Hennessey, as he led a protest outside. "I will tell them when it's a done deal."

For more information on the turnpike, click here.

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