Federal grant to help City of Lawton fund Lee Boulevard upgrade | News

The City of Lawton has received a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration for its Lee Boulevard renovation project.

The funding is designated to Lawton under the CARES Act Recovery Assistance program and is restricted to roadway improvements to Lee Boulevard to improve access to Lawton’s west industrial park, according to the Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Lawton officials said in September the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments was helping the city apply for a $2 million grant to cover work on the section of West Lee Boulevard from Goodyear Boulevard in the west industrial park to Southwest 38th Street. The discussion came up as the design firm EST Inc. launched its work to analyze the south Lawton arterial from the industrial park to near Interstate 44 as part of a project to upgrade the arterial.

In its press release, EDA said the grant is to be matched with $5.5 million in local investment, which the City of Lawton will achieve through funding designated in its 2019 Capital Improvements Program. Dennis Alvord, acting assistant secretary of commerce for economic development, said the project will improve Lee Boulevard to support the flow of goods and products in and out of the industrial park, as well as supporting Great Plains Technology Center, which provides workforce training, and allowing better access to health care at Southwestern Medical Center. Both entities are located on West Lee Boulevard.

The funding is provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which provided EDA with $1.5 billion for economic assistance programs to help communities prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, EDA said in a press release.

EST Inc. already is working on several road analysis projects for the City of Lawton, including Lee Boulevard.

The contract with EST will provide analysis of existing road conditions, what needs to be done to upgrade various segments of Lee Boulevard and approximate costs for 7.75 miles of Lee Boulevard and 2.2 miles of Goodyear Boulevard between West Lee Boulevard and Old Cache Road, said Amanda Newberry, the EST engineer in charge of the project.

The resulting report, expected by fall, will provide recommendations for upgrades, to include cold mill and overlay, adding new overlay to the existing surface, or rebuilding sections of deteriorating concrete. City officials have indicated Phase I of the Lee Boulevard project, resurfacing work between Goodyear Boulevard and Southwest 67th Street, could be ready for bids as early as spring. City officials said this week the design plans for that segment are 90 percent complete.