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Expansion Of Gilcrease Expressway May Happen Sooner Than Planned

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A road expansion decades in the making could happen sooner than planned. The Gilcrease Expressway project will connect the L.L. Tisdale Parkway to I-44 in Tulsa.

Monday morning, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, and a number of other entities, discussed some changes they've had to make on the projected expansion of the Gilcrease, especially areas where there are a lot of homes and businesses.

Mary Colebrook’s business and property sit along 31st Street, directly parallel to where the Gilcrease Expressway is set to be built.

"I've lived in Berryhill since '72, so I've heard about the highway for a long, long time," she said. "I think it will be good for the community and the future. I think it will bring in people and it should help our business a lot. A lot of people have trouble finding us."

Monday, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority gave a progress report on where the project stands.

"We are moving on a very aggressive schedule for a project as complex as this Gilcrease is," Turnpike Authority Director Tim Gatz said.

Some intersection designs have been changed to give better access to certain homes and businesses impacted by the construction.

The toll system will most likely be electronic - Pikepass based.

Gatz called the corridor project “extremely challenging,” but needed in order to re-route heavy truck traffic.

"You heard about us having to do 22 bridges in a five-mile long corridor, which is significant. Two of those are over the Berryhill flood way area and over the Arkansas River are significant bridges,” Gatz said.

County Commissioner Karen Keith said, "It is a game changer in terms of getting those heavy loads off the IDL and going around the city and directly out to the port, so it is a big deal."

If everything continues as planned, by this time next year we should see construction underway.

“Yes, finally its coming together," Keith said.

The total price tag for the project is $300 million.

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