Project to widen Highway 74 nears end as business owners near end of their wits

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OKLAHOMA CITY - A decades-long project to widen Highway 74 to four lanes is finally nearing completion, according to an Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokesperson.

The final phase on the stretch between Memorial Rd. and Waterloo began last year and is expected to be finished by late summer/early fall.

For many commuters, the project has been more than a headache, some saying it tacks on 20 minutes to their commute.

"Everyday, people complain everyday," said Ryan Biggers, an employee at Wines Etc. located in the Deer Creek Shopping Center at NW 178th. He said sometimes the intersection is completely closed.

"The light sucks and stuff, and the one-lane traffic sucks, but when they close the intersections, then you can't even go down certain streets," Biggers said.

Carla Jernigan, co-owner of Hopes and Greens, says especially recently, the project has been bad for the new business.

"We were actually doing pretty well until they started piling the dirt up," Jernigan said, "and you can't see the building, you can't turn in, you can't get out."

ODOT has made an effort to help ease the burden on businesses by adding more access points in the meridian.

"It'll be worth it in the end. We know it's inconveniencing motorists and businesses now, but we know in the end they`ll see vast improvement in safety through there," said spokesperson Lisa Shearer-Salim.

But for some, the end can't come soon enough.

"It's just been going on for so long," Jernigan said.

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