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Muskogee home and business owners feeling hopeful after senator speaks out against Highway 69 bypass

Posted at 9:36 PM, Jun 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-21 04:44:36-04

MUSKOGEE, Okla. -- Interstate level traffic through Muskogee and a high accident area are the concerns for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation as they consider bypassing Highway 69 west of the city.

But one homeowner is worried about losing land as she watches ODOT survey in her neighborhood.

"To me, it was a perfect place. There was no way when I was building it and planning it when this was all open area would I have ever dreamed that a highway could be right in my backyard by our swing set," Angela Wheeler said.

Business owners feel hopeful after talking with US Senator Jim Inhofe on Friday, who spoke out against this plan. Yet the owner of Sooner Surplus said he's already losing deals, just with the possibility of this option.

"We had to go back and notify them that this bypass is in the eight year plan. We'd be subject to a lawsuit for not telling them what we knew was going on. Well guess what happened? They backed out," Bill Inhofe said.

At Timothy Baptist Church they're getting tired of waiting, and tell us they're moving forward with an expansion, despite the uncertainty of a future in their current location.

"A big fellowship hall, a new children's area, a new nursery area and all of that. We use everything we have here on Sundays, we have all of our classrooms filled," Pastor Kelly Payne said.

Now Payne is relying on his faith, as the proposed path could affect his home and family.

"My parents bought next door to me so their later years of life we would be close by and be able to care for them. Of course if that happens that's going to be out the window," he said.

ODOT tells us they're looking at all options, and are not settled on the bypass. If they do move forward with this, the path isn't set in stone. A public meeting is expected in January.