TULSA, Okla. — An unexpected problem with gas lines has delayed a road construction project on Highway 20 between Highway 66 and I-44 in Claremore.
Once the project is complete, the drive along the area is expected to be smooth, but right now business owners say the construction timeline is anything, but that.
“Everybody that owns a business front on this side of highway 20, we’re all being affected from it,” Joel Smith, owner of Auto Definitions, which sits right along highway 20 near the Will Rogers Turnpike said.
The road has been narrowed down to one lane in each direction because ODOT is rebuilding it.
Smith said the construction has impacted many businesses in the area and caused a major inconvenience even for him.
“For the businesses on the other side of the road, their driveways have been completely taken out," Smith said. “Now with this, it is almost impossible to get a semi in here, they’re not able to swing so now we’re meeting them in an alternate location and picking up our goods from there."
ODOT started the $4.6 million project last month, but crews have put the construction on hold after discovering gas lines much shallower than they should be.
Kenna Mitchell, spokeswoman with ODOT, said they have found five gas lines and hit three of them. Smith witnessed one of them.
“I was right next to the main gas line when it was hit and when it started spewing and we had to shut highway 20 down," Smith said.
ODOT said the project will resume once ONG does a new and more thorough assessment of the gas lines and where they are located.
“We don’t want anything where it’s a dangerous situation that pops up and businesses lose service, businesses lose service or really that crews would be in harm's way from this,” Mitchell said.
She said ONG will determine if those lines need to be moved.
“Right now, we’re working very closely with ONG trying to get this resolved as quickly as possible and we know it is an inconvenience, it is even beyond this a long project in the corridor, so we know that it’s asking a lot for drivers to have some patience and as well as the people that live and work in the area," she said.
Mitchell said right now ODOT does not know when the project will be complete.
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