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ODOT secretary apologizes for missteps

Posted at 1:24 PM, Feb 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-19 14:24:29-05

CHOCTAW, Okla. (AP) -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation secretary says the agency made missteps in announcing a recently proposed turnpike project near Choctaw.

The Oklahoman reports that department secretary Gary Ridley apologized to more than 700 northeast Oklahoma County residents who expressed their concerns at a public meeting Thursday.

Ridley said the agency made errors in communicating information about the project to the public.

The $300 million project calls for the construction of 21 miles of new toll roads to link Interstates 40 and 44.

Property deals and increased traffic in the rural area are among residents' concerns.

Ridley said a new turnpike is coming to the area in one way or another because the Oklahoma City metro area desperately needs another north-south thoroughfare to ease Interstate 35 traffic.