Highway 70 safety discussed at public meeting

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MARSHALL COUNTY, OK - Highway 70 was a hot topic at a meeting held Friday by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in Madill. After an accident last month left a father and his two young children dead, residents said they've had enough.

"As a firefighter it can get to you. This last one we had was the hardest one for me," said Huauni Creek assistant fire chief Ronald Combs worked, who worked that accident. He along with other residents are calling for action to stop the fatalities.

"It would be my hope that there would be a four lane put in there. I think that traffic demands that now," said Scott Landgraf, who lives on Highway 70.

ODOT said most of the accidents have happened when drivers cross the center line to pass prompting them to install center line rumble strips to keep drivers from crossing left-of-center.

ODOT division 2 engineer Anthony Echelle said that expanding the highway to four lanes isn't in their current 8-year work plan, but they're taking a closer look.

"We are going to look at the current traffic count, reevaluate those, look at the turning movements that are on highway 70 and look for, certainly, patterns that we see in the accident reports," Echelle said.

Echelle also said in the meantime they could put in turning bays or signs, but not until they've studied the highway more. Locals said they hope something is done to help save lives.

"Someone died," said Marshall County resident Pat Bell. "And we're very concerned about what's going on out there on highway 70."