Choctaw Nation, Durant Effort Improves Traffic Flow for City
DURANT – A traffic light at the intersection of South Ninth Street and Big Lots Parkway is now operational. The new signal had been hanging in place for the past month. Wiring, synchronization and other safety features were needed before installation was complete.
Construction crews have already widened a portion of the east-west stretch of Big Lots Parkway from two lanes to four lanes. The street expansion and traffic light came out of an agreement between the City of Durant and the Choctaw Nation. The city announced its support for the Ninth Street intersection improvements at April 12, 2016, meeting of the Durant City Council (Memorandum of Understanding C-2016-27). The Choctaw Nation paid for the project and furnished the work crews. The city will pick up the cost of ongoing maintenance of the city street.
“The City of Durant enjoys a great working partnership with the Choctaw Nation,” said Mayor of Durant Jerry Tomlinson. “In recent years there have been several joint City and Tribal projects, with the new traffic lights on South Ninth being the latest. This signalization will contribute to the safety of the increasing traffic flow and efficiency of both north- and southbound vehicles, and is another great example of the Tribe and City working together.”
The improvements will assist with the flow of traffic, where a high volume of construction by the Choctaw Nation has been underway for a couple of years and is expected well into next year. Even after completion of the of the new 130-acre campus of the Choctaw Nation, traffic will continue at a much higher level than in the past.
The site of the new campus is south of downtown Durant and north of the Choctaw Casino & Resort – Durant, between Ninth Street and U.S. Highways 69/75. Among the new construction, facilities are the Choctaw Nation Regional Medical Clinic, located at 1801 Chukka Hina, (a new street built north of Big Lots Parkway), which opened in February. Also operational are the Choctaw Health Administration building and Choctaw Public Safety Building. The Choctaw Nation Food Distribution Center, Choctaw Community Center, and the Choctaw Nation Child Development Center were the earliest constructions on the site. Expected to open their doors in 2018 is the Choctaw Wellness Center and the 500,000-square-foot Choctaw Nation Headquarters.