Downtown Tulsa Construction Leaves Drivers Lost

Wednesday, September 9th 2015, 6:44 pm
By: Emory Bryan

A one-way switcheroo in downtown Tulsa has drivers running into roadblocks and leaving them confused.

The city blocked off part of MLK Boulevard late Wednesday and turned part of Detroit - that was one way - into a two-lane street instead.

Downtown driving can be confusing enough with one-way streets, but making a one-way temporarily a two-way had some drivers doing U-turns.

The orange cones are lined up for blocks in advance, and the road closed signs seem to be everywhere, but it's actually a small area where a new construction job is starting.

The city is planning to rebuild one of downtown's worst sections of street - the section of MLK that runs by the OSU sign.

It's a $5.6 million job that starts with redirecting traffic off of MLK; and while it's blocked, the normally one-way Detroit becomes two-way for a few blocks.

The city sent out letters explaining things to some, but it didn't get to the staff and parents at Emerson Elementary, which is why the principal and custodian suddenly became traffic cops.

Wade Walton said, "And we're trying to make it safe for our community. We've asked for another sign there and, you can see, people are still coming. I think that's all going to be torn out, but for today we're trying to make it easier."

The parents got caught up in the confusion because the traffic flow changed during the school day.

For the construction, several streets are blocked around land just west of MLK. The work in the blocked off section will take at least four months, and while that's happening, temporarily, Detroit will have two-way traffic.

Eventually, the work that's on MLK will move over to Detroit, the two-way will go back to one-way, and the one-way will get blocked off.

The first phase will be done around Christmas. The whole thing should be done in one year.