Work To Begin Tuesday On 3rd Phase Of I-44 Widening Project In Tulsa

Monday, February 28th 2011, 11:11 am
By: News On 6 & Laura Moss, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will begin its third phase of construction on I-44 in Tulsa on Tuesday.

This phase will include the widening of I-44 from 4 lanes to 6 lanes from Riverside Drive to just east of Peoria.

"It's not going to affect traffic starting tomorrow [Tuesday]," Kenna Mitchell, with ODOT, said. "However we will start seeing some lane closures the next two weekends."

Mitchell said the lane closures should not be happening during peak driving hours. Phase one is complete and Mitchell said they are more than halfway through with Phase two.

"We're looking great in the Harvard corridor and really excited about getting this next phase underway," Mitchell said.

Roads will be widened, bridges will be replaced and repaired, sound walls will stand tall and ramps will be improved. What some call a Texas turn-around will be added at Peoria.

ODOT workers already have one at work on Yale off of I-44. Mitchell said features like that will pave the way for an easier commute.

"It is a very heavily traveled corridor and you've got to keep 9,000 cars a day moving through here," she said.

To keep cars moving in the right direction, message boards are set up all along the drive.

"We really encourage drivers coming through this corridor plan a little bit of extra time," Mitchell said.

And it will take time. The third phase is projected to be complete in 2 years. As for the neighborhood, residents said they're happy to see the concrete to go up and the noise to go down.

"We will have some construction of sound walls starting at the very beginning of the project as well and those are going to look a lot like what we have in the I-44 corridor between Harvard and Yale," Mitchell said.

ODOT says this phase of the project will cost $40 million, while the entire widening project will cost $360 million.