I-244 In Tulsa Being Rebuilt From Dirt Up

Wednesday, April 22nd 2015, 5:49 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The road re-building project on Interstate 244 is a big job as workers re-do the interstate from near downtown Tulsa to Memorial Drive. But some drivers wonder if the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is doing enough.

Commuters who use I-244 in Tulsa already know the inconvenience of the backups because of construction.

It's going to last a while, and it would take longer if ODOT rebuilt the road and the bridges. The biggest road project in Tulsa right now is on Highway 244 - the total rebuild of one of Tulsa's busiest stretches.

The highway is being dug up in sections - down to the dirt - so it can be replaced with new concrete. The work will take more than a year.

The job continues at the bridges, where the bridge decks will be replaced - but the supporting structure only repaired. The crumbling supports will be patched and repaired but not replaced.

That's concerning for Don Gibson, who drives under the bridge on his way home.

"I'm wondering if the pylons that hold the bridge up has structural damage inside and the cross beams of the concrete has structural damage - because you can drive under it and see big chunks of concrete that's been falling off when they were jackhammering the concrete off the top of the bridge," said Tulsa resident Don Gibson.

There were no workers on the Admiral bridge site Wednesday, but they've already marked off trouble spots where the concrete has cracked and exposed the supports inside.

4/21/2015 Related Story: Expect Delays On Tulsa's I-244 With New Ramp, Lane Closures

ODOT plans to patch these areas - and clean and paint the metal beams that hold up the decking.

That, according to O-DOT, costs much less than a replacement would, and it is structurally solid.

The work on the highway was needed because the concrete was failing, leading to potholes. The concrete is being piled up because it's being ground into gravel and reused under the new road.

The work on the bridges should eliminate almost constant repairs and the concern over holes forming in the bridge.

Gibson would just like to see the job go further.

"It's kinda sad that they won't take it all the way to the ground and re-do it," he said.

The project is on schedule, but it's only two months into it, so there's a long way to go, still a long time until the road is clear for commuters.