Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Passes Bill to Stop Planned 2-Lane Ada Turnpike

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Senate Passes Bill to Stop Planned 2-Lane Ada Turnpike

Article excerpt

A proposed two-lane turnpike from Ada to Sulphur was rebuffed Wednesday when the Oklahoma Senate voted 35-10 to pass Senate Bill 8.

The bill, authored by Sen. Darryl Roberts, D-Ardmore, would require all Oklahoma turnpikes to be at least four lanes. It also forbids toll increases on existing turnpikes to bail out other turnpikes without Legislative approval.

Roberts' bill, which now goes to the House of Representatives, was prompted by a proposed $537 million Oklahoma Turnpike Authority bond issue backed by Gov. Henry Bellmon. The package would build four turnpikes, one in Tulsa, one in Oklahoma City, one on part of State Hwy. 33 in Delaware and Mayes counties, and the Ada-Sulphur turnpike.

The first three roads would be four-lane.

"A lot of people didn't want to vote for me, but they darn sure don't want a two-lane turnpike and toll increases," Roberts said.

Although the road would be north of Ardmore, Roberts said he has taken a strong stand for a four-lane turnpike because it would help the whole region economically.

Pointing to State Hwy. 81 and State Hwy. 69, and Int. Hwy. 35, all of which cross the state from north to south, Roberts also stressed the need for a better east-west road system.

Despite House Speaker Jim Barker's promise to bury Senate Bill 8 in the House Judiciary Committee where it would die, Roberts said he does not plan to lobby for House support.

Barker, D-Muskogee, last week introduced his own proposal. House Bill 1044 supports the governor's bond package and leaves the two-lane road intact. However, the bill would have the turnpike authority lease the Ada-Sulphur road to the Oklahoma Transportation Department, and motorists would not pay tolls.

Barker said he is committed to find revenues to build the additional two lanes and make the highway a four-lane, free road. …

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