STROUD, Okla. - The Turner Turnpike is about to undergo a major renovation.
The biggest change will impact the popular rest stop just west of Stroud.
The area will no longer be a halfway meeting point for people driving in both directions.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority said, due to accidents and too much traffic coming into the rest stop, cars in both the west- and eastbound lanes will have their own separate facilities to stop at.
"I think it's definitely a better way to improve drivers safety," said Elton Hayes, a truck driver.
The McDonald's and EZ Go along the turnpike in Stroud is Hayes' go-to place after driving all day. But, at night, it gets especially crowded.
"It's hard to find a parking spot," he said.
And, when merging back onto the turnpike, it puts Hayes' semi right in the fast lane. He said it's too dangerous.
"It takes a while to build up that speed and momentum and, when you have the speed limit at 75 miles per hour, you're getting on at 35 miles per hour, so you've got a 40 miles per hour difference," he said.
Which is why the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is planning major changes.
"We have seen a few accidents out there because of the merging aspect of it," said Jack Damrill, the director of Communications. "We're going to straighten that out, so the road will be straight so you won't dogleg around to the right."
In the next two or three years, drivers will only be able to access the service area in Stroud if they're traveling in the westbound lanes.
Those driving towards Tulsa will have to use a new service area near Chandler, which is already being built.
In the end, the Turnpike Authority said it will also save drivers money.
"They will be charged full price between Oklahoma City and Tulsa; now that they have to exit Stroud, they will be charged the reduced amount for that travel trip," Damrill said.
Damrill also said the $17 million project for both facilities will include WiFi, electric chargers for vehicles and more parking spots for semis, something Hayes said is needed.
"It's definitely good for our rest and good for safety all the way around," Hayes said.
Construction on the service stop near Chandler is expected to be done by the end of the year.
Renovations to the Stroud location will begin shortly after in 2020.