Texomans Discuss Deadly Highway With ODOT - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Texomans Discuss Deadly Highway With ODOT


MARSHALL COUNTY, OK -- People in Texoma are calling for change to a deadly road in Marshall County.

Some call it "Death Valley".     

It's the stretch of Highway 70 that runs between Madill and Carter County.     

State lawmakers and ODOT representatives held an open meeting in Madill Friday to hear concerns.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says there are 12,000 miles of highway in the state.

But some Texomans say a 9-mile stretch between Madill and Ardmore is the deadliest of them all.

"The nickname? Death Valley," said Ronald Combs.

"It's a great place to live until you want to get on the highway," said Scott Landgraf who lives four miles west of Madill on Highway 70.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol says since 1997, there's been a total of 17 collisions on this section of Highway 70, killing 32 people and injuring 18 more.

Ronald Combs worked the latest accident that killed three people, a father and his two small children.

"It can get to you, this last one we had was the hardest one for me," said Combs, assistant fire chief of the Hauani Creek Fire Department.

Those who attended the meeting say they want to see Highway 70 expanded to four lanes all the way to the Carter County line. But ODOT says that's not in the eight year plan.

"That's difficult to give with any certainty when that would occur," said Anthony Echelle. "But it is certainly possible."

Echelle says while expansion is not in the plan, there are other ways to try and enhance safety on the highway.

"Some may be turning lanes, or turning bays," said Echelle. "And maybe signs."

But some disagree.

"In order to fix the problem it's going to take a four lane to do it," said Landgraf. "I don't think turn bays will fix it."

ODOT engineers say they will continue to study traffic patterns and movements on Highway 70.

"Hopefully the community leaders will work with them and we'll get this resolved," said Pat Belle, a resident of Madill.

ODOT says the traffic count on Highway 70 is about 4,800 cars per day.     

Officials say highways with a count of about 8,000 cars per day are generally considered for expansion to four lanes.