Widgets Magazine
  • Key Bricktown intersection to be moved

    The City of Oklahoma City is planning to spend up to $1.4 million to move an intersection and possibly a section of street in Lower Bricktown.

    As the full length of the new Oklahoma City Boulevard nears completion, the city is moving forward with relocating the only intersection between the I-235/I-40 interchange and Shields Boulevard.

    The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is constructing the boulevard which follows the footprint of the old I-40 before it was relocated several blocks to the south.

    Oklahoma City public works instructed ODOT to build an intersection at Oklahoma Avenue as the main ingress and egress out of Lower Bricktown, which contains Harkins Theater and many restaurants and attractions as well as hundreds of parking spaces.

    The city had planned to acquire property to the immediate east of a Uhaul facility which would have allowed Oklahoma to connect in a straight line to Reno Avenue.

    However, the city and Uhaul could not come to terms when the operators of the rental and storage facility insisted the city's $1 million offer was far too low. In a press release, Uhaul management promoted a petition against the proposed plan and said it would cost the company approximately $5 million to relocate the entrance and make other related changes.

    The city then filed an eminent domain proceeding against Uhaul to forcibly take the property but withdrew the litigation before the 3 court-appointed commissioners could determine fair market value. Eminent domain binds both parties to a price once the commissioners submit their report to the court; the city stopped their suit just short of this point of no return.

    No long thereafter, the city connected the boulevard intersection through an elaborate re-routing of traffic that took motorists around the Uhaul property.

    OKCTalk learned city representatives had been meeting with homeowners of the Centennial Condominiums, located just east of this section of Oklahoma Avenue. Plans were shared that showed the boulevard intersection being moved to the west and then Oklahoma Avenue being rebuilt directly north to a new intersection on Reno Avenue.

    Representatives from the Centennial told OKCTalk their homeowners' association is strongly opposed to the plan to move the north section of the street and recently voted to have an attorney send a letter to the city expressing their objections.

    Assistant Public Works Director Debbie Miller told OKCTalk that the city is committed to moving the boulevard intersection sometime this summer, as landscaping has already commenced on the divided roadway.

    Miller also said that the rest of the alignment would not be relocated without the consensus of Bricktown Entertainment owners of the affected parking lots and the Centennial homeowners through future meetings.

    Earlier this month, city council approved a contract with engineering firm Smith Roberts Baldischwiler for planning and construction up to $1.4 million for the entire project, although it is likely the full budget won't be spent if only the one intersection is changed.

    The intersection move will place it at the far western edge for two key properties on the south side of the boulevard, the 40-acre Producers Coop site and the 6-acre former Lumberyard that has substantial frontage on the roadway.

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