New 116th Street North Overpass At U.S. 75 Now Open

Friday, August 23rd 2013, 12:10 pm
By: Craig Day

A $7 million overpass at 116th Street North and U.S. Highway 75 is open for traffic, ahead of schedule.

1/14/2013 Related Story: Work Begins On New Highway 75 Interchange At 116th Street North Near Owasso

There have been 44 crashes and three deaths at that intersection over the last three years.

Since January, drivers have had to find another way around instead of using 116th Street North at U.S. 75.

"I'm ready for it to open," Kevin Neece said. "It's been a mess for a while."

Crews spent part of Friday painting stripes, putting up signs, clearing the road and getting everything in order to open the bridge.

It's a $7 million project the Oklahoma Department of Transportation determined was a critical need based on the collision numbers.

"It was needed really bad, this was a really dangerous intersection," Neece said. "We had a lot of accidents. A few fatalities."

ODOT began construction started in mid-January. Though the overpass will be open for traffic, the project won't be officially finished for another month.

"We kept seeing accidents happen at this location, we were able to advance the project," ODOT's Kenna Carmon said. "We were originally scheduled for 2015, but we were able to start construction of it in January of this year."

Although the overpass is open, the overall project still has another 30 days for finishing touches like putting down sod, so drivers are still urged to be cautious while crews work.

"It's not a fix all, drivers still have to be very responsible when they're going through here," Carmon said. "There are still some stop signs and yield signs on either side of the bridge for traffic to follow. So they'll need to make sure especially the first few weeks to follow those signs and get used to the new configuration."

The bottom line is, drivers who take 116th Street North and the 23,000 drivers traveling up and down Highway 75 each day are glad the project is wrapping up and the area is safer.

"Too many wrecks, too many wrecks out there on the highway," Ochelata resident Carie Leard said. "So I think it would be a good thing."

Since crews will still be working for a while longer, ODOT says there could be some occasional lane closures and the reduced speed limit on U.S. 75 will be in place until the project is completed.