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A rough section of Okmulgee Avenue near the Post Office is slated for repair this summer.

Cathey Nail will be glad to see the bumpy street in front of the post office replaced this summer.

“It’s kind of rough out there; sometimes the car will hit kind of hard,” she said. “We also go to the library; all that is rough.”

Parts of U.S. 69 (32nd Street) and U.S. 62 (Okmulgee Avenue) are scheduled for improvements by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation starting later this summer, officials said.

Work planned on West Okmulgee Avenue near the Muskogee Post Office will be welcomed by postal patrons.

Nail said she travels that stretch of road regularly. Usually, her son drives.

“Every day, we come and check the mail,” she said. “There are a lot of cars backing out right here.”

Nail has noticed how rough the street gets west of the post office. She was glad to hear ODOT’s plans extend as far as the Muskogee Public Library.

Nail said, “That’s great!” when she heard the repairs won’t require local funds. The work is the state’s responsibility.

Troy Travis, maintenance engineer with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Division 1, said the project on Okmulgee Avenue is the less complicated of planned repairs.

“The length of that area is about 3/10 of a mile,” he said. “We’ll be doing milling and overlay. That basically means milling out roughly 2 inches of poor surface material with a big grinding machine and replacing it with asphalt.”

Travis said the other two projects are on U.S. 69 between West Okmulgee Avenue and Arline Street and have a total length of approximately 6/10 of a mile. Those will involve milling, overlay and also work on the concrete underneath.

“When moisture gets under the pavement, the pavement keeps rocking as traffic passes across it, and it pumps out the material underneath,” he said.

Material costs for the improvements on U.S. 62 and U.S. 69 is estimated at $350,000. Travis said ODOT hasn’t yet calculated labor or equipment costs.

Travis said ODOT wanted to do another project on Main Street (U.S. 62) but didn’t have enough money in its budget.

Postmaster C. Jay Anderson-Lightcap said she has met with ODOT and city officials about resolving traffic pattern problems in front of the post office. Although some of the proposed changes involve much more than resurfacing, every improvement will help.

“I want people to be able to get in and out safely and efficiently,” she said. “We have 2,882 post office boxes, and 80 percent of them are rented; there is a lot of customer traffic. The mail is in by 9 a.m., so there is a spike in the number of people coming in then. And, we have our regular traffic at the window all day long.”

Jack Macomb is among those daily postal customers. He has noticed the rough spots, but Macomb said he is more concerned that drivers have alternate routes while work is ongoing.

“It can stop people from getting into some of the businesses, and it also messes up traffic,” Macomb said. “It’s good that the city doesn’t have to pay for this particular repair.”

Travis said ODOT understands road projects can be a hassle for drivers and businesses, and he wants to minimize the impact.

“We want to make them as least intrusive to traffic as we can,” he said. “We haven’t made the crew assignments yet, so we don’t know exactly how long it will take to complete the projects. But we want to get in and out as quickly as possible.”

Reach Keith Purtell at 684-2925 or kpurtell@muskogeephoenix.com.Reach Keith Purtell at 918-684-2925 or Click Here to Send Email

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