Homeowners continue fight against proposed turnpike extensions
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Homeowners fighting against new turnpikes in the metro met at the state Capitol to voice their displeasure.
Messages such as "out with the turnpike" and "get it out of our backyards" rang out at the state Capitol Wednesday as homeowners rallied against turnpike projects in Oklahoma City.
Representative Richard Morrissette and others were on hand to tell those impacted to "stay loud and persistent".
Melda Whitford brought a document to the rally that she says was signed by Theodore Roosevelt in 1903 and promises that the land will belong to her family forever, but the state has other plans.
"It means nothing to them. It's not important enough to save our land," Whitford said.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority plans to create 21 miles of turnpike that connects Interstate 40 to Interstate 44, which means 80 homes and businesses will have to be demolished. Another proposed section extends the Kilpatrick Turnpike.
"We were very shocked when we got a map that showed it going directly into our property." Jayna Gordon said. "We hadn't been contacted or asked anything. Just shown a map of it taking out our family farm."
Jayna Gordon says the Hussmann Farm has been in her family for 80 years. Her grandparents bought it in 1935 and it sits on 160 acres.
"I'm doing everything in my power for my son that wants to raise his children there and wants to continue growing up there," Gordon said.
Speaker Gary Richardson said there are 604 miles of toll roads in Oklahoma, which ranks second in the United States only to New York.
The OTA says they understand the concerns of families but that they are moving forward with plans. Construction is projected to start in late 2017.