Tensions flare as potential I-35 construction is discussed

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The I-35 corridor between the I-40 and I-44 junctions could see changes in the future.

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Tensions are flaring in northeast Oklahoma City during a potential highway project.

The I-35 corridor between the I-40 and I-44 junctions could see changes in the future.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials say the highway isn’t cutting it as it is.

“It kind of goes from two lanes to three lanes. We have some bridges that are narrow, or that we would consider functionally obsolete,” says an ODOT Engineer, Trenton January.

Right now, roughly 77,000 cars travel through each day. ODOT expects that number to grow by around 30,000 in the next twenty years, which is why the department is planning for change.

Right now, four options are on the table, spanning from doing nothing to expanding I-35 with new lanes and frontage roads. ODOT is now asking for public input as some homeowners voice their concerns.

“You tell me how you accomplish that without demolishing houses,” said one person in the meeting.

Joseph Dismuke, who lives nearby, said, “What’s gonna happen to our properties that are actually facing the road?”

ODOT officials said more research is being done due to low income and minority populations, explaining that two of the four options would require homes to be removed.

One expands I-35 and adds one-way frontage roads. The other is similar, but adds two-way frontage roads. It is considered the most invasive.

"You're going to further demolish it to accommodate urban sprawl. I would just ask for you all to have some sense of humanity when you pick this,” said a woman in the crowd.

ODOT has not yet made a decision regarding the potential construction, and does not currently have a timeline.

If you were unable to attend this meeting, but you would like to provide ODOT with feedback, visit http://www.odot.org/publicmeetings.

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