NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Turnpike turmoil continues with concerns around the cemeteries located along the proposed toll road that would stretch south of I-40, east of Norman and down to Purcell.

Current maps show Blackburn Cemetery, with graves dating back to the 1800s, just feet away from the proposed path of the Kickapoo South Turnpike Expansion.

In a statement to KFOR, Brad Rogers, the cemetery’s caretaker, said many of those graves are unmarked, adding that “disinternment would create long lasting and significant emotional trauma to the families, including my own family, as we have loved ones buried out there as well.”

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Blackburn Cemetery

Matthew Pearce with the State Historical Preservation Office says his office consults when historical sites or cemeteries could be affected, but they have not been contacted yet.

“Once they’ve decided upon a specific route, then that’s typically when they will reach out to our office to initiate consultation,” he said. “We’ll say, ‘Great, here’s what we think is here, here’s what we expect to see…and then they’ll do that work.”

In an interview with KFOR Tuesday, transportation officials said that families can rest assured their loved ones won’t be moved from their final resting places.

The proposed route will not impact any cemeteries, [and] we will not go over any gravesites,” said Jessica Brown, who serves as Director of the Strategic Communications Division for the Oklahoma Transportation Cabinet, while adding that the proposed routes were just a starting point for the project, to help pinpoint where environmental impact is needed.

“We will check with national and state agencies to make sure  what we’re doing does not disturb any site that’s protected,” she added. “Even though that’s the cemetery right now, we’re not going to refine that until we do everything.”

In a follow-up email to KFOR, transportation officials said they will also consult with the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Archeological Survey before refining their project alignments.

They said they will also host several public meetings later this month to give people a chance to speak about the issues.