New details about up-and-coming turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County

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OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. -- Progress is moving right along on the new turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County, despite protests from residents out there.

Turnpike officials say they’ve been placing X’s along the proposed route for aerial surveying.

The main area they’re looking at is a mile on either side of Peebly Road from I-40 to I-44.

And while they say "X" doesn’t necessarily mark the spot of the new highway, many homeowners say they’re a little too close for comfort.

“Yesterday, when I come home from church, the neighbors come by and said 'oh my goodness there’s a big x in our yard',” said Richard Caldwell.

One "X" sits on 38th St., right along Caldwell’s property of 20 years.

“Yeah, they’ll pay me, but that doesn’t mean I can afford to move somewhere to have the same kind of place I have now,” said Caldwell.

It’s also Wendy Howard’s street; her home for 23 years.

“What are we supposed to do?  Where are we supposed to go?  This isn’t fair to us,” said Howard.  “No matter what they offer us, it's not enough.  It can never be enough for us to pack up and leave somewhere else, where everybody knows this  is home.”

“It is definitely not X marks the spot.  Now I’m not going to say it couldn’t come there,” said Tim Stewart, Executive Director of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

Stewart says they sent letters to the mayors and city managers of surrounding communities asking them to consider a moratorium for granting plats of new subdivisions in the area for one year.

He says they’re trying to do this with minimal disruption to the people who live out there.

“Least impact to the local community, least impact to the environmental or other cultural things that are in the area, and the most expeditious and safe way to provide passage along that corridor,” said Stewart.

Many residents, though, are hoping the highway ultimately lands somewhere else.

“Twenty-three years of being here.  I don’t want to leave,” said Howard.

Hundreds of homeowners have signed a petition against the new turnpike and a Facebook page has also been set up in opposition.

Many residents plan on attending upcoming city council meetings in Harrah and Luther, as well as a Turnpike Authority meeting later this month.

Stewart says they should know the exact path of the new highway in the next 3 to 5 months.

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