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Chicken-Fried News: Terrible turnpike

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Residents of eastern Oklahoma County, which includes smaller towns like Jones and Choctaw, voiced their concerns at a meeting of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) about a turnpike expansion that affects their quiet property.

“This is not why people move to eastern Oklahoma County,” said homeowner Amber Polach at the meeting.

Landowner Harold Manwell, who owns 600 acres, is afraid the turnpike will cut through his property.

Homeowner Nan Burns said she “moved to the green belt, not to the truck belt.” Local citizens held up signs saying, “Stop the OTA landgrab” and “Forcing people to sell their property is theft!”

But not all residents are against the expansion.

Choctaw Mayor Randy Ross said the turnpike is vital for the economy of the community and will keep it alive, and U.S. Congressman Steve Russell, who owns land in Choctaw, encouraged those at the meeting to think of the needs of the community.

“Sometimes you have to balance the need for the country, the need for the nation, with the needs of the individual. In this case, it could be my home,” Russell said.

OTA said it will work harder to communicate more clearly and listen to homeowners’ fears and will hold public hearings in the next few months.

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