Texoma towns discuss turning Hwy 75/69 into an interstate

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DURANT, OK -- Phil Scoggin, Atoka Economic Development director, is a member of a coalition trying to turn Hwy 75/69 into an interstate.

He joins representatives from many towns along the corridor who are working toward the same goal.

"We have to improve our transportation constantly, because we have 22,000 vehicles a day traveling right through the heart of Atoka," he said.

The group met in Durant Friday for a second time.

David Dean is with Tex-21, an independent organization with the goal of improving transportation.

"Taking care of the existing volume of cars and trucks and providing for space for that expansion that's gonna be coming as the population in the central part of the United States continues to grow in record numbers," he said.

The next step is getting U-S congressional support, he said.

But some local business owners in these small towns aren't happy with the idea. For example, in Calera drivers have to slow down and stop at traffic lights - and that gives them time to notice some of the local stores along the highway.

Rebecca Sandman, owner of the Amish Store in Calera, opened the store there because of it's placement on the highway.

"Texas tax dollars are gonna go on to Missouri, and Missouri and Kansas are gonna come on to Texas, because they can move straight on through our place," she said.

But Scoggin disagrees.

"It will allow more people to get off, take their time and enjoy the city of Atoka," he said.

And members of the coalition say an interstate will bring economic development and safety.

"Because trucks are cruising along. All of the sudden they're slamming on their breaks for traffic lights, people behind them don't see them," Scoggin said.

US Rep. Markwayne Mullin plans to hold a meeting in late march to discuss the issue with constituents.The coalition is also discussing it with Rep. Ralph Hall.

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