Roadblocks for Bryan County Fastlane Project - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Roadblocks for Bryan County Fastlane Project

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An artist's conception of a planned U.S. 69/75 intersection upgrade in Calera. (ODOT) An artist's conception of a planned U.S. 69/75 intersection upgrade in Calera. (ODOT)

CALERA, Okla. -- It's been a rocky road for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation as they work to make the multi-million dollar Fastlane Project a reality.

The plan is aimed at reducing congestion along a four-mile stretch of U.S. 69/75 through Calera and Durant.

But there's a roadblock. The state must acquire land from 32 Calera property owners to build the highway upgrade, and some property owners are fighting back.

ODOT hasn’t yet reached a final offer with nine of those property owners, and the state transportation agency has filed condemnation lawsuits against eight owners.

"They've made some offers, and we just don’t like their offers," said Casteel's Tire owner Billy Sprous. "It’s our right to take them to court, or try to believe what we think we should get.”

The government has a right to acquire private property for projects that benefit the public.

Bryan County Commissioner Ron Boyer believes the disagreement stems from uncertainty about the Fastlane Project.

“Nobody actually knows why or how it’s going to affect, the guys with the businesses don't know what’s going on, the guys that live there don't know what’s going on,” he said.

In a statement, ODOT defended its procedures to acquire the land needed for the highway expansion.

The department works hard to go through many steps to be fair to land owners, and condemnation is the final step ... the department understands the negotiation process can be stressful and seem complicated.

Now it is up to the property owners to give the green light or continue to be a roadblock.

"So we just gotta fight for what we believe in,” Sprous said.

ODOT said its lawsuits are a part of the preparation process for the Fastlane Project, and that there is no guarantee the agency will go through with them in court.

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