The Oklahoma Department of Transportation said a private contractor set up traffic control signs in the westbound lanes of the Broken Arrow Expressway and caused a massive backup early Thursday morning.
ODOT said a contractor closed some lanes Wednesday night where the BA meets Highway 75 for a bridge painting project.
ODOT spokesperson Kenna Carmon said the contractor did not inform the agency about the signs and said the project was not even scheduled for Thursday.
She says ODOT told the contractor to remove the traffic control signs. but that came after westbound traffic backed up for miles Thursday, frustrating drivers headed to downtown Tulsa for work.
The contractor, Euro Paint LLC of Lowellville, Ohio, began moving the signs to the side of the highway and reopening the westbound lanes just after 8 a.m.
ODOT says the two contractors on the project didn't communicate and that is what caused the traffic signs and cones to be out and no one working on the job site.
Drivers stuck in traffic said these lane closures made them late for work.
"Closing it down to two lanes for no apparent reason it just didn't make sense," said Rebekah Stephenson.
"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," said Dustin Coker.
ODOT says it's discussing the situation with the contractors.
ODOT official Marty Stewart apologized to drivers who were stuck in Thursday's back-up.