Downtown Okmulgee to have one-of-a-kind roundabouts
By Skyler Drinnon/Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma- The City of Okmulgee and Muscogee (Creek) Nation are set to begin roadwork in downtown Okmulgee.
Pedestrians and drivers can look forwards to this new project that will include three mini-roundabouts, extended sidewalks and repaved roads.
The roundabouts are to be placed at the intersections where 6th Street meets Okmulgee, Central and Muskogee Avenues.
The project is meant to implement more walkability for pedestrians and improve access to the Council House, businesses and downtown restaurants.
“We are excited to partner with MCN on this project,” Executive Director of Okmulgee Main Street Heather Sumner said.
Sumner said the project has been three years in the making and describes it as a “one of a kind project for Oklahoma.”
State Highway 56, also known as 6th street in downtown Okmulgee, will be the first state highway to have a roundabout installed.
Along with the new mini-roundabouts, extended sidewalks and new water lines will be installed.
“Another piece to what this took so long for all of this to happen is the city already knew they wanted to replace the water lines. They’re original water lines. They’re a hundred years old,” Sumner said.
The idea and design for the mini-roundabouts came from Oklahoma Department of Transportation. Originally, Okmulgee wanted to implement bicycle lanes with redesigned parking.
The design behind the roundabouts are to be small enough that regular-drivers have to go around the intersection, but small enough that emergency vehicles and first-responders can drive over them in the case of an emergency.
MCN Secretary of Interior Jesse Allen explained the Nation’s involvement with this project and what hand they have in this project.
“It kind of opens up and exemplifies the Council House,” said Allen. “So when people come to visit the Council House, it will become a natural transition to the visitor center.”
MCN will work to repave the road between Grand and Morton directly north of the Council House.
The roadwork is known as brick paver. The purpose is to have the look of old-style brick roads while maintaining ODOT standards.
Along with the new road, Allen said they have proposed a new visitor center across from the Council House.
The visitor center, if approved, will hold archives and artwork for visitors.
“I think this will slow down traffic and allow people to see what vendors are downtown and stop and eat at the local restaurants and shop downtown,” Allen said.
Allen and Sumner expressed their excitement for the new construction, both saying the addition of the roundabouts, roads and sidewalks will be a great addition for Okmulgee.
Plans for the construction are estimated to begin in November with hopes that the project will be completed in six to eight months.