Chickasaw Turnpike bill gains approval in the Oklahoma House

| Thursday, May 04, 2006

The Oklahoma House has approved a bill that would route large truck traffic around the city of Sulphur.

House lawmakers voted 88-2 April 27 to advance a bill that would allow the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to take over management of all or part of the Chickasaw Turnpike. The bill – SB1368 – has since won final approval in the Senate and has been sent to Gov. Brad Henry for his signature.

The bill focuses on the four-mile stretch of the turnpike running from Oklahoma Highway 7 to U.S. 177.

Shifting the turnpike to ODOT would allow the agency to build entrance and exit ramps at the intersection of Chickasaw Turnpike and U.S. 177.

The on-and-off ramps would ensure large trucks do not have to drive through town. It also would create a non-tolled alternate access ramp giving truckers access around the north side of Sulphur.

“Trucks have no other route to drive besides through town,” Rep. Wes Hilliard, D-Sulphur, said in a written statement. “With the increasing tourist traffic as well as the heavy truck traffic, it is about time that the House does something about this dangerous situation.”

Hilliard, the bill’s House sponsor, said the transfer wouldn’t affect tolls on the turnpike. In addition, tolls wouldn’t be placed on the new access ramps.

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