As Perkins R.oad gets a makeover, residents are creating a new driving routine, but they’re not the only ones adapting to construction.
Matt Johnson, Aspen Coffee Co. ownersaid the construction did not affect business due to the time of year.
“January is always the slowest month of the year for us anyway,” Johnston said. “Mostly because people are trying to pay off their credit cards and making New Year’s resolutions to drink less caffeine.”
Johnston said he assumed building will affect business to some extent, but ultimately said it is necessary. While construction is in progress, his business depends on the routine of customers.
“Every day they go the same route at the same time and they get into a routine and hopefully we’re in that routine,” Johnston said. “Stop and grab their coffee on the way to work or drop the kids off at school.
“When there is road construction, it sometimes changes their routine by taking longer or changes their route which may take a different route that does not pass through our store.”
Although some residents form a new driving routinesjust like sam ellis, a Freshman to Oklahoma State University which drives on Perkins Road about four times a week.
Ellis said this build would affect him greatly, as he is a student. He said time was limited for him and he would continue to drive down Perkins Road to his usual shops. Ellis said this construction could affect Stillwater negatively.
“Construction will add more traffic to Perkins Road,” Ellis said. “At the same time, I believe it could have a positive impact on the future of transport.”
With the addition of Oklahoma State University on 26,000 students to the people of Stillwater, students play a role in the future of transport.
Ashley Peterson, a USO second yearsays she does do not driving on Perkins Road every day.
“I am a full-time student and my the day revolves around the OSU campus“, said Peterson. “When I go places, I tend to go to downtown Stillwater, the super Walmart on Sixth Street, and the region of Perkins and Hall Fme.”
Peterson said she was driving on Perkins Road about eight times a week. Since returning to Stillwater, she has resumed her weekly routine.
“When I drive on Perkins, I go to Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, HOTWORX and Dollar Tree,” Peterson said. “I’m adding an extra five minutes due to construction and associated traffic.
“Construction could negatively affect Stillwater by producing more traffic in the already busy intersection and deterring potential customers from area businesses..”
Peterson said on game days it would impact Stillwater as the town is busy with no construction.
“The construction helps Stillwater Roads become safer and better for the future,” Peterson said. “Ultimately, construction is necessary.”
The Perkins Road construction project will be a continuous project carried out in phases. Stillwater and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation are working together on the project.
Some say Perkins Road is one of the busiest roads in Stillwater and needs construction. Monty Karnes, Director of Engineering, started working with Stillwater in May 2017 and said the discussion on the construction of Perkins Road has begunn before.
“I’ve been in the community for a long time, and I know in 2015 they started working on it,” Karnes said. “It’s been a goal for seven to ten years.”
Stillwater works with the Oklahoma Department of Transportationto fund the $18 million project. Stillwater is funding approximately $3.4 million, and Oklahoma Department of Transportation finance the rest.
“The City of Stillwater’s responsibility is to provide the engineering, purchase the right-of-way or easements that were required,” Karnes said. “And they are responsible for all utility travel costs.”
The design begins at Perkins Road and Hall of Fame Avenue, continuing north to Lakeview Road. Construction began in December at Perkins Road and Hall of Fame Avenue on the north lane. The improved drainage system on the northbound lanes is the vsit’s first home with building site. Once the northbound lane is complete, construction work will be repeated on the southbound lanes.
In the summer, it is planned to close the middle lanes and Perkins Road will be limited to one lane on each side. Karnes said there will be significant changes at Perkins Rcharged.
“At the McElroy intersection, it will be widened so that there are dual left-turn lanes in all four directions,” Karnes said. “Which then means McElroy is rebuilt about 300 feet either side of the intersection.”
Karnes said new red lights will also be installed. Heading north from McElroy to Lakeview, it will become a five-lane road. There will be two lanes in each direction with a turning lane in the middle. This 1–the mile road will be replaced with concrete and widened approximately 10 feet on each side for active transport cushions. Cyclists and commuters can travel safely and avoid blocking traffic when using the transport cushions.
“The big benefit is adding these active transportation cushions, it gives people the option to ride a bike and maybe not drive,” Karnes said. “OWe can bring people back and forth and make them safer.
Karnes said some of Stillwater’s highest traffic is in this area. It also has some of Stillwater’s highest retail value. Adding left turn lanes is oprofit from road construction. Karnes said it would reduce traffic and the number of accidents.
“Traffic is smoother and safer,” Karnes said. “You can get to businesses more easily which is good for the public so they can get to where they shop; it’s good for business and sales tax.
Karnes said some people understand the challenge of undertaking a project of this magnitude. He said to expect traffic jams and plan for extra time when driving on Perkins Road.
Although Stillwater is responsible for engineering, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is responsible for funding building. When deciding whether to use asphalt or concrete, Oklahoma Department of Transportation chose to use concretefor this lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is working with Stillwater on this project because Perkins Road is a state highway. Lisa Shearer-Salim, spokesperson for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said the Oklahoma Department of Transportation funds approximately $14.6 million from the $18 million project on Perkins Road.
“The department builds and maintains the state highway system,” Shearer-Salim said. “Currently the work is concentrated just outside the edge of the taxiway.”
Shearer-Salim said in the spring Oklahoma Department of Transportation anticipates it will resurfacing work in the middle lanes. ‘Cause Perkins Road is a state freeway, US-177, Oklahoma Department of Transportation has the ability to close the road, but that’s not in the plans.
“We work under traffic,” Shearer-Salim said. “Later in this project, you’ll see it narrow to one lane in each direction for a while, but we won’t close it completely.”
If weather permits and progress continues through the spring and summer, the contractor plans East suspend work in the fall for the football season. Once the football season is over, work will resume.
“The contractor is staggering the work so it can be fully open on OSU game days,” Shearer-Salim said. “We recognize the huge influx of traffic that passes through this area on game days and it is in the contract to open all four lanes during the fall semester.”
By staggering the works, this will allow businesses on Perkins Road to benefit during the football season. Shearer-Salim said infrastructure is essential to the economyand he recognizes that Stillwater has more economic growth in the fall. She said to grow Stillwater’s economy she needed better traffic flow.
Although the price of this two year project seems expensive to someShearer-Salim said there were other factors to consider.
“You have a lot of material, labor and utility costs that go into the cost of construction,” Shearer-Salim said.
The Perkins Road project is one of the projects of from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation eight-year plan to repair the roads. The goal of the plan is to be as transparent as possible with the public.
“Each project in the eight-year plan is designed to update aging infrastructure, make security improvements and modernize some of our infrastructure,” Shearer-Salim said. “Because we are seeing strong traffic growth in many parts of the state.”