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Business and Economy

New Turnpike Extension Could Stimulate Business Growth

Lanes of the Southwest Extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike were formally opened Thursday, a project that is expected to accelerate business investments in Oklahoma City.
(Photo by Mark Hancock)
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Lanes of the Southwest Extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike were formally opened Thursday, a project that is expected to accelerate business investments in Oklahoma City.

A new 7.5-mile segment of the Kilpatrick Turnpike has opened in Oklahoma City. Leaders say the road could stimulate business interest in southwest OKC, which has been described as the state's fastest-growing area. Journal Record editor Russell Ray discusses the road's project costs and its significance to the state. 

 

Full transcript: 

 

Drew Hutchinson: This is the Business Intelligence Report, a weekly conversation about business news in Oklahoma. I’m Drew Hutchinson. Joining me is Russell Ray, editor of The Journal Record. The southwest extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike formally opened last week, facilitating travel to the southwest part of the Oklahoma City metro. Journal Record reporter Steve Metzer reported that officials think the new 7.5-mile segment of road could stimulate business interest in this area that includes Yukon and Mustang. 

Russell Ray: The new road opened last Thursday after two years of construction, and total project costs were around $235 million. It's going to allow motorists to travel west and then north from Highway 152, also called Airport Road, to where the turnpike previously ended at Interstate 40. Several officials, including Gov. Kevin Stitt, said established businesses in southwest Oklahoma City will no doubt benefit from this new stretch of turnpike. 

Hutchinson: Right. Stitt said infrastructure and transportation are key to the state’s economic development, which is why these issues will continue to be priorities for his administration. And state Rep. Brian Hill, who represents District 47 that includes Mustang, he said his area is the fastest-growing part of Oklahoma. Russell, what else are officials saying about the Kilpatrick Turnpike’s new addition? 

 

Ray: Well, Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt said the highway extension reflects a spirit of great partnership between Oklahoma City, Mustang and Yukon. He also pointed to the foresight of civic leaders and transportation officials who recognized and capitalized on opportunities for growth.

Hutchinson: According to the article, Holt sees this as another great win for Oklahoma City after the passage of the MAPS 4 community betterment project. He said he expects that QUOTE the boom will continue for another decade. 

Ray: Well that’s right. In addition to Holt, ODOT Secretary Tim Gatz said the Kilpatrick extension will be an important part of what he described as a “reliever route system” around the Oklahoma City metro. He said the southwest extension of the turnpike adds some additional circulation for traffic that may not be destined for Oklahoma City that needs to, that needs an alternative way to get around OKC. He also stressed that the type of activities going on in southwest Oklahoma City involve distributorships -- a lot of commercial freight moves in and out of that area. So it’s an important project for the Turnpike Authority. 

Hutchinson: Other things to know about the new stretch of the turnpike, only the westbound and northbound lanes are open right now. Lanes going the opposite directions are expected to open in the coming weeks. ODOT Secretary Tim Gatz said some bridge work needs to be done before those eastbound lanes are available to the public, and he says construction on roads around the highway will likely continue after the eastbound lanes open. 

Ray: Gatz said people should remain extra cautious traveling in the work zone. The toll for the new portion of highway will be 75 cents. There will be no attendants to make change, so motorists will have either get a Pikepass or have exact change on them when they go through the extension.

Hutchinson: Russell, thank you for your time today. 

Ray: My pleasure Drew, thank you.

Hutchinson: Russell Ray is editor of The Journal Record. KGOU and The Journal Record collaborate each week on the Business Intelligence Report. You can follow us both on social media. We're on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @journalrecord and @KGOUnews. You'll find links to the stories we discussed during this episode at JournalRecord.com. And this conversation, along with previous episodes of the Business Intelligence Report, are available on our website, KGOU.org. While you're there, you can check out other features and podcasts produced by KGOU and our StateImpact reporting team. For KGOU and the Business Intelligence Report, I'm Drew Hutchinson.

 

The Business Intelligence Report is a collaborative news project between KGOU and The Journal Record.

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