Plans to widen I-44 between Yale and Riverside have been delayed for years. Confronted with ever increasing traffic snarls, Oklahomaâ€™s highway planners want the federal government to pick up the tab.
News on 6 reporter Heather Johnson says the stretch of Interstate highway in question is one of the more controversial sections of I-44, where transportation officials bought out much of the neighborhood. Clearing the way for widening the interstate to six lanes, then the $263-million project came to a halt.
Local and state officials met Tuesday with a representative from Senator Jim Inhofeâ€™s office, showing the need for re-vamping this section of I-44. And asking that it be listed as a â€˜high-priority projectâ€™, in the next Federal Highway reauthorization bill.
Gary Ridley with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, "It's not only a major thru-route through Tulsa to the Northeast part of the United States and to the southwest, but also as a commuter interstate for the people in that area. You can see that every morning and every night what we have is a 4 lane parking lot out there."
If it's considered â€˜high-priorityâ€™ by the government, Oklahoma will receive dedicated funding, specifically for this project. But even then, we still may not have the green light.
Officials say whether or not we go to war may play a key role in where government funds are focused.