Broken Arrow Expressway Lanes Mistakenly Shut Down, Cause Confusion

Thursday, March 27th 2014, 5:06 pm
By: News On 6

A highway contractor mix up caused several lanes of the Broken Arrow Expressway to shut down right in the middle of the morning commute.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is apologizing for the confusion that caused the back up.

There were no delays heading into the peak of rush-hour traffic, but that wasn't the case earlier this morning when orange barrels slowed traffic for a construction project that never even happened.

03/24/2014 Related Story: ODOT Blames Massive Broken Arrow Expressway Back-Up On Paint Contractor

"I didn't see the cones at first," Rebekah Stephenson said. "There was about a mile of start and stop... I get on Yale so I didn't know what was going on."

Stephenson drives into downtown for work every day.

Her commute usually takes between 8 and 10 minutes, and she and other morning drivers headed toward downtown got caught in a mess.

"There weren't any crews," Stephenson said. "I didn't see any new blacktop -- been filling potholes."

"There were several people that were late that are never late I said, 'They must be stuck in that.' So, finding out that it may have been for nothing is immensely frustrating," driver Dustin Coker said.

ODOT said a traffic control contractor accidentally closed lanes on the Broken Arrow Expressway in anticipation for some overnight work on a bridge.

That work never happened and all the closed lanes delayed commuters.

"This setup wasn't supposed to be during rush-hour traffic it was only supposed to be at nighttime," ODOT's Martin Stewart said.

ODOT said the two contractors on the project miscommunication about when the work was supposed to be done.

"Closing it down to two lanes for no apparent reason it just didn't make sense," Stewart said.

Drivers are used to getting a better 'heads up' when road work is going to shut down a highway.

"With something like that going on there would have to be somebody who works for them would notices that these things are being setup, would call or do something to see if it's been authorized," Coker said.

ODOT said it is waiting to approve a new traffic control plan from the contractor.

"This will be taken care of and handled," Stewart said.

It is an ongoing project and there will be some overnight lane closures but ODOT said it will try to make sure at least two lanes will be open during peak traffic times.

"I hope they can learn from that," Coker said. "I mean, hopefully those cones are gone for the people on the rush hour who are going home tonight and for tomorrow."