ODOT Creates Task Force for Hochatown Area Projects
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is leading a local advisory committee to capture ideas and identify critical needs for highway improvement projects on US-259 in the Broken Bow/Hochatown area.
The department normally confers with city or county leaders to gain insight into the short and long-term transportation needs for an area; however, Hochatown is unincorporated, presenting ODOT with a unique opportunity to partner with local, state and tribal entities.
“I’m pleased so many leaders are willing to be a part of this committee, to be the voice of the community while partnering with ODOT on decisions about future projects that will affect this rapidly developing area,” said Tim Gatz, Oklahoma secretary of transportation and ODOT executive director.
Hochatown has exploded in recent years as a favorite destination spot for Oklahomans and citizens from neighboring states. The area’s highway infrastructure was not designed for today’s traffic, precipitating the need for immediate attention of existing issues and to address future needs for the growing region.
The advisory committee participants were appointed by Rep. Eddy Dempsey, (R) and Sen. George Burns, (R), state legislators representing the area; the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma; the McCurtain County Board of County Commissioners; City of Broken Bow; and Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. Rep. Dempsey and Sen. Burns have been critical in conveying the needs of their constituents to the department and were integral in the development of the committee.
Early discussions have yielded a unanimous agreement for such a committee. In mid-October, committee members discussed area projects included in the department’s 8-Year Construction Work Plan, specifically a $1.5 million interim traffic signal project on US-259 at Stevens Gap, US-259A north and south entrances and at Sherry Lane in Broken Bow and two major reconstruction projects for federal fiscal years 2024 and 2028 at an estimated $42 million.
The committee will meet monthly initially and more frequently as needed.