February 11, 2011
Kickapoo Street is in phase two of widening its streets, and that puts it closer to Oklahoma Baptist University.
This widening project will add a lane from the Kickapoo Spur to Macarthur Street.
“The project will cost approximately 10 million dollars and we have spent a little over one million so far,” said Shawnee City Engineer John Krywicki.
The money was secured by former United States Representative Ernest Istook and a bond that was passed by Shawnee voters in 1987.
It has been a slow moving project, but is now going in full swing.
“The project has been delayed for two main reasons,” Krywicki said.
“The first is that it is the hardest of the projects included in the bond issue, and the second is that there have been a lot of acquisitions related to the widening of Kickapoo Street.”
Within a few months the street will be wider and repaved.
At the intersection of Kickapoo and Macarthur students will soon notice that the curb from eastbound Macarthur to southbound Kickapoo will be removed as part of the Kickapoo widening project.
This will make the intersection larger and will make it much smoother.
Soon all of Kickapoo will be a smoother, less congested, and more modern.
The widening project directly affected OBU when the rock wall that had long stood on the campus’ eastern border had to be dismantled.
The wall was preserved and will rise again elsewhere.
Also, utility lines that are currently above ground in that area will be going below ground.
The widening project also had an effect on the immediate vicinity. Hammy Horton’s—a restaurant that was located on the Kickapoo, University Street intersection—was forced to relocate beside the Rainbow Café building.
“I hated to see Hammy Horton’s move, we had a lot of good times there. I am glad they will open elsewhere,” said senior Ryan Howard.
Also, students have had to deal with constant construction on one of Shawnee’s most traveled streets.
“It has been really annoying dealing with all the construction—one day a turning lane will be blocked, the next the whole left lane at a section is gone,” said sophomore Ryan Smith.
“However it will be nice to have Kickapoo wider, less congested, and smoother.”
“The construction will continue over the next several months. The next immediate phase will consist of ONG pipe layers laying new gas lines under the construction surface,” said Krywicki.
Students are urged to be cautious while driving around the construction, “The safety of the construction workers is our top priority,” said Krywicki.
Students are reminded that traffic fines double in construction zones. Soon the construction will be over and a new, widened Kickapoo will border Bison Hill.