I-44 Road Project To Start August 5th

Friday, August 2nd 2019, 11:30 pm
By: Kristen Weaver

Travelers, on busy I-44 through Tulsa and Rogers counties, are about to see a delay as roads begin closing on Monday.

"This is a busy route, it'll hinder a lot of businesses and hold a lot of people up," said driver Sandy Martino-Hewitt. 

Martino-Hewitt isn't wrong about the traffic.

That stretch of roadway where I-244 merges with I-44 near 165th East Avenue sees about 66,000 drivers daily, according to 2018 ODOT data.

"As drivers know, it's a busy corridor, there's a lot of truck traffic, there's a lot of commuter traffic," said ODOT spokesperson Kenna Mitchell.

Mitchell said the final leg of their I-44 widening project is starting Monday.

Eventually, the stretch between the I-244 split to 193rd East Avenue will be four lanes instead of two in each direction to keep up with all those vehicles.

"What starts Monday is the last piece of this puzzle, the last bit of widening work at 161st East Avenue," she said. 

Mitchell said the road will be narrowed to two lanes and closures will happen overnight.

Martino-Hewitt mentioned it's already extremely busy and, "if you narrow it down to the two lanes, it's gonna take a lot longer to get home, or go anywhere."

Mitchell said speeds will be reduced and people will need to use extra precaution.

Drivers like Martino-Huett said they'll try to avoid the highway altogether.

"I'm hoping this gets the ball rolling to make people aware, and to people who use this road daily, to steer clear," she said.

The $20 million expansion will take about a year to complete.

"The payoff is, once it's done, it's giving us access to all those lanes reconstructed in the corridor," Mitchell said.

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