Contractor, MWC officials point fingers in road debate

There are multiple construction projects going on around Midwest City, and while some may cause headaches for drivers, another will bring new retail outlets to the Town Center Plaza on SE 29th  Street.

A road crew worker digs dirt out one of the medians along Post Road, which has been the focus of a major road project the last 18 months. However, a disagreement between the contractor, city and state officials will prolong the construction. No timetable has been set for the next round of road work. (Photo by Chelsea Ratterman)
A road crew worker digs dirt out one of the medians along Post Road, which has been the focus of a major road project the last 18 months. However, a disagreement between the contractor, city and state officials will prolong the construction. No timetable has been set for the next round of road work. (Photo by Chelsea Ratterman)

The largest road project that has been in progress for more than a year and a half is the widening of Post Road from Reno Avenue to SE 15th  Street. Estimated at $5 million, the project has gone on longer than a normal road project should,  Midwest City Manager Guy Henson said.

Henson said the upcoming repair work  on Post Road was created because the contractor, Markwell Paving, did not meet project and time frame specifications. The next phase will focus on the medians and smoothing the roadway.  Markwell Paving President Damon Markwell said the median work is part of the original contract, and that the city  caused some of the delay by filing a change order in connection with the type of dirt placed in the medians.  Final decisions have not been made about the road’s resurfacing, but should include new pavement and surface overlay in some areas, Henson said.

The entire project will be redone in an effort to “even the ride,” he said.  The project’s construction on the project was fully funded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, which received federal stimulus funds. The city paid for engineering work and right-of-way acquisitions.  The project contractor, Markwell Paving, will face a financial penalty for exceeding the project timeframe. That particular issue, however, is between ODOT and Markwell Paving, Henson said, and does not involve the city.

Markwell Paving President Damon  Markwell laid blame for the road repairs on Midwest City.  “Midwest City didn’t raise the (utility) wires high enough. Our paving trains were unable to move steadily, which caused uneven lanes,” he said.  Markwell also said he hasn’t been noti- fied when his company will have to perform the road repairs.  “That’s between ODOT and the city right now,” he said.

Impact on Businesses  

The impact from the Post Road project  has not been confined to drivers. Over the course of the project, businesses have com- plained of damages and loss of business. Since the project is federally funded, they are referred to the contractor to file their complaints.

Voss Vision Clinic is one of those businesses affected by the project. “We have had a loss of business, here and there, but the main thing is damages. We lost our $150 mailbox, which was replaced by a temporary box, and our sprinkler system was plowed up. That has not been replaced,” said Angela Cantrell. She also said the situation with the sprinklers is the same for other property owners along Post Road. According to Cantrell, the contractor has yet to respond to those complaints.

15th Street widening 

Motorists in that same area also will be affected by another road project that focuses on the widening of SE 15th Street just past Lynn Fry to Anderson Road. The road will be expanded from a two lane to a four lane street with a dividing median. The environmental clearance through ODOT has been obtained, and the city is proceeding with the right of way and utility relocation plans. Utility relocation will occur before 2013, but construction is not expected to begin until after January.

Future road plans 

Plans for other road work around the city have been built into the 2013 budget and include work on Sooner Road from Reno to SE 29th Street. Construction is not expected until 2014.

Town Plaza construction 

With the acquisition of West Side Elementary from Mid-Del public schools, the city and a private developer have started a new retail project in the Town Center Shopping Plaza. Dick’s Sporting Goods has confirmed it will be part of the new project, which has city officials smiling. “Anytime you have what we call ‘retail leakage,’ when people are going outside the city for goods, we try to bring it back in,” Henson said. The new sporting goods store should keep shoppers in Midwest City instead of losing them to Oklahoma City stores such as Bass Pro Shop and Academy Sports and Outdoors, the city manager said.

Including Dick’s, an additional 75,000 square feet of retail space will be added to the retail development along SE 29th and Air Depot. The city and Sooner Investment will share ownership of the new development. Sooner Investment will be in charge of the building and leasing the spaces, Henson said. City officials also confirmed that McAlister’s Deli will locate in the new development. In addition, Office Depot reportedly will relocate from its current location at 112 N. Air Depot to SE 29th and Air Depot.


Originally published June 2012, Eastword News
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