The time has come -- Riverside Drive will be closing down for two years.
A two-mile stretch -- from 24th to 41st Streets – will be closed to traffic as construction continues on a state-of-the-art park. The closing was delayed until Monday morning as signage was completed.
The signs tell drivers of the closure for the area designated for ‘A Gathering Place for Tulsa.’ Almost a dozen message boards, and even more of orange signs, are all around Riverside Drive.
"It's going to be dysfunctional around here for a while, but I think worth it in the long run,” resident Cat Koehn said.
Koehn's family often uses RiverParks trails and drives down Riverside to get there. Despite the inconvenience, she is excited as the construction of the $350-million park moves forward.
"We just have to think about it every time we are in traffic over here and on Peoria and on the interstate, we will have something wonderful after all of this," she said.
Special Coverage: A Gathering Place For Tulsa
City officials suggest people who live outside of the Midtown area should stick to highways or use Lewis or Harvard.
City Engineer Paul Zackary said he's already noticed drivers taking detours in anticipation of the actual closing.
"I'm not going to say it is going to be easy, it is going to be an issue, but I think it's not going to be quite the shock,” Zackary said.
Besides an impressive park, Riverside also will get a big upgrade. Two land bridges will connect the park to the trails and turn parts of the road into a tunnel.
Lanes will be wider and some higher, like near Crow Creek, the road will be raised 8 feet.
“It's going to be confusing for a while, and it's going to be intrusive on some, but the thing we are committed to is making the best we absolutely can," Zackary said.
"It's going to be something for the community to do, I can wait two years,” park neighbor Jerry Noble said.
Signs clearly will mark where Riverside Drive is closed and also will have signs pointing you to the closest detour.
There are a few parts of Riverside Drive that will be open only to local traffic. The city has already talked to people who live in those areas.