Commissioners pass Haywood Road-McAAP resolution

·3 min read

May 26—Pittsburg County commissioners have passed a resolution to execute a project agreement in conjunction with the state and the city of McAlester for widening and resurfacing Haywood Road.

The resolution calls for the road to be widened and resurfaced from U.S. Highway 270 extending to 3.7 miles south to the Haywood gate of the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant. It's another component in a move to upgrade and strengthen the road so it can be more effectively used as another access gate for trucking traffic and other traffic into McAAP.

It's part of an agreement involving the county, the city of McAlester's National Defense and Industrial Development Authority and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce also involved in the project.

The McAlester National Defense and Industrial Development Authority consists of the McAlester City Council acting in another capacity.

Estimated cost of the project is approximately $4.5 million, set for the 2022 Fiscal Year. The resolution calls for the county to provide $791,000 toward the project. That's the amount of a grant for the project from the Oklahoma State Department of Commerce, said city of McAlester Economic Development Director Kirk Ridenour on Tuesday.

Other funds toward the project are set to come from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said McAlester Defense Support Services Executive Director Jessica Gregg. If approved by the city council, funds awarded to the city through the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission would also be used toward the project, Ridenour said.

Included in the resolution Pittsburg County commissioners passed Monday is an agreement that the county shall be responsible for furnishing all rights-of-way for what is called a federal-aid project, in compliance with all applicable laws, federal regulations and guidelines.

Also, the county is required to keep all permanent rights-of-way on plans for the project free from any encroachment "and take timely action to effect the removal of any encroachments" upon notification by ODOT.

The county is also required to acquire all rights-of-way, if any, and be responsible for the total costs for removing and relocating outdoor advertising signs and to be responsible for any needed relocation assistance payments.

After commissioners passed the resolution, they said they were glad to help with the project. They are also expected to assist with some in-kind services during the construction period.

Haywood Road is in District 3 Commissioner Ross Selman's district. District 2 Commissioner Kevin Smith and District 1 Commissioner Charlie Rogers joined with Selman to unanimously pass the resolution moving the project forward. Selman is also a member of the McAlester Defense Support Services and the McAlester Defense Support Association.

"Hopefully, we can get it done next year," Selman said of the Haywood Road project. "I'm thankful for everybody that's had a part in this."

Smith and Rogers also said they supported the project.

"Anything we can get done in this county is a great deal," Smith said.

The Haywood Road project is one of the matters pursued during the McAlester Stampede, held virtually this year, with local officials and supporters of McAAP and the defense industry, who spoke with the state's Congressional delegation and well as military leaders in Washington and state officials.

Following the action by the commissioners, the next step called for action by the McAlester City Council to act on the project agreement between the Department of Transportation, Pittsburg County and the McAlester Defense and Industrial Development Authority.

City councilors were also to act on accepting a 2021 Award and a 2021 Special Award from the Oklahoma Strategic Military Planning Commission to assist with paying for the project.

Contact James Beaty at jbeaty@mcalesternews.com.

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