NewsOn6.com

Tulsa, OK -- An early holiday surprise took place Tuesday afternoon at the intersection of I-44 and Peoria. 

All lanes of north and southbound on Peoria are now open to traffic, along with the westbound I-44 on-ramp from Peoria Avenue. The access road between Peoria and Riverside Drive on the north side of I-44 is also open.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation says the opening of Peoria Avenue is 29 days ahead of schedule.

All lanes of Peoria have been closed at I-44 since mid-October, so crews could safely construct and connect a portion of a mile long underground drainage structure on the north side of I-44.

This structure is more than 20-feet underground and more than 40 feet wide. It is a key piece of the I-44 widening project from Riverside to Yale.

The closure at I-44 and Peoria was anticipated to take about three months. However, ODOT says incentives were put in place to finish the work as quickly as possible in order to help restore traffic in the area.

Work continues to the east of Peoria Avenue. Drivers are encouraged to check daily lane and ramp closures in the traffic advisories section of www.okladot.state.ok.us.

The overall completion of this phase of the I-44 widening is tentatively scheduled for early 2011. The overall widening between Riverside to Yale is expected to be complete in late 2012 to early 2013.