OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR)- Construction is nothing new to the metro, but some Southwest Oklahoma City residents are saying the work areas nearby are creating hazardous driving conditions.
Down SW 29th is a pile up of construction causing the traffic signals for the SW 29th and Sara intersection to flash red.
“The city actually reached out to us and asked us to turn it into a flashing red to make it a four way stop, just to kind of help drivers be a little bit more conscious of the construction in the area,” explained a Oklahoma Department of Transportation Public Information Officer, Bryce Boyer.
Several nearby residents told KFOR that flashing light as well as the construction surrounding their neighborhood has been a pain to live next to and drive through.
“With us being the neighborhood on the corner, a lot of people are trying to cut through. So they come through our neighborhood, they speed down our streets. We’ve got kids and animals, cars sometimes parked in the road. There’s a risk there that somebody is going to get hurt somehow eventually,” said nearby resident, Christie Richmond.
Richmond added as she and her husband are driving through the intersection, she has seen near accidents.
“People don’t always understand when the traffic light is red and flashing that it’s treated like a stop sign. We’re stuck behind somebody. They’re hesitant to go. They don’t know when to go. You know, that gets very frustrating. I could see maybe a potential collision happening there,” stated Richmond.
Richmond’s neighbor across the street declined to go on camera but told KFOR he had recently been in a fender bender in that intersection.
He said he is okay, but his bumper is dented.
The other issue on Richmond and other residents’ minds are the cement blocks used on corner turns to block drivers from colliding with construction.
“There’s a speed limit of 25. People don’t want to abide by that. They ride right up on the back end of your vehicle. My husband has had some times where he’s taken a swift curve around some of those blocks and the person behind us, because they’re so close on us, has almost run directly into the wall. Driving up there, it looks like there may have been people that have collided into those cement walls as well. The schools, there’s a school right there. And so that definitely probably has an effect on the bus routes and the buses and being able to get in and out of there. So, you know, there’s just a lot of frustration right around it.”Christie Richmond, SW OKC resident
Boyer said the construction is part of a partnership between the City of Oklahoma City and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.
Sara Road is being deconstructed from SW 59th to SW 29th.
The road will be widened from two lanes to four lanes, according to Boyer.
Boyer added this construction project is supposed to help the congestion of traffic flowing from the John Kilpatrick Turnpike.
“We realize there was going to be a lot of extra traffic onto Sara Road from the on and off ramps to the JT. The city reached out. We talked with them, agreed to kind of expand Sara Road. That construction started in September of 2021,” said Boyer.
This construction project is tentatively expected to wrap up by the end of fall 2023.
“I’m little frustrated. You know, we weren’t necessarily notified that they were going to be out to begin with. I’m sure that the end result may be fantastic, but the getting there is a little bit painful for us,” said Richmond.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric Foster suggests drivers slow down and be patient.
Trooper Foster added the flashing red lights mean it’s a four-way stop.
If a driver is seen driving recklessly through the area or any other construction zone, the fines are doubled.
If there are construction workers in the area, Trooper Foster said the driver could face criminal charges.
Trooper Foster told KFOR there is upcoming legislation that could incentivize troopers to work in construction zones.