Residents learning about new turnpike route

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OKLAHOMA - The third and final public meeting about the new Eastern Oklahoma County turnpike was held at Harrah Church Thursday night.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority revealed the final route for the highway, which was slightly different than previous routes put out at public meetings.

“I’ve not been to any of the meetings. I didn’t want to hear any of the yelling and screaming. But, I’m going to go tonight, since it’s the finished product,” said Cyndi Francis.

Francis works at Big Buzzurd Trading Co. in Harrah.

They’re shadowed by a billboard in favor of the turnpike.

“They had to let everybody know that we did not put that up there. We do not have anything to do with that billboard,” Francis said.

She’s also disgusted, though, by the graffiti someone decided to put up there.

Someone painted swastikas over the billboard.

Francis said she’s ready for an end to all the bad feelings surrounding this new highway.

“It’s just time to let us know exactly where it’s going to be. Get through with the talk. Let’s take all the signs off the roads. It’s done. It’s going to be a done deal, so let’s just do it,” Francis said.

Turnpike officials said they changed the north part of the route where it connects with I-44 after speaking with landowners in the area.

They said the final plan affects 22 percent less rooftops and also utilizes land burned by the Luther wildfires, land they said is not being used for anything else.

“I just feel like they were putting on a big show for everybody to make us feel like we’re putting in our two cents. Well, go ahead but, guess what, it’s going to go up, anyway,” Francis said.

Joe Kreke is also watching the new developments closely.

He’s moving forward with development on his land along N.E. 23rd in Harrah, even though the turnpike will most likely come right through there.

“I don’t want to put my life on hold for the OTA,” Kreke said. “This is something that has just been dumped on the citizens and, you know, we’re now, is it too late in the game?  Who knows.”

Kreke also just won a seat on the Harrah city council.

He campaigned on his opposition to the turnpike.

He’s trying to get the city council to pass a resolution to nullify the one made endorsing the new highway.

“That we have decided to not support the OTA and their endeavors, and we don’t agree with how they’re handling things nor how they’re running things,” Kreke said.

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