Changes Planned For Deadly Tulsa County Intersection

Tuesday, September 25th 2012, 2:44 pm
By: News On 6

Changes are coming to a deadly intersection in Tulsa County.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is moving up the project that was originally slated for 2015.

ODOT said Highway 75 at 116th Street North is a spot that has seen its share of accidents, and has been on its radar for quite some time.

Money is now available to allow a project that will make it safer to happen years ahead of schedule.

"This intersection is pretty bad," said Daniel Vang, "A lot of people don't follow the speed limits and you can't really gauge how fast a car is coming, especially at an intersection like this."

Vang's friend, Lilia Lee, was killed in an accident in 2011.

She failed to stop before crossing Highway 75 and was hit by a pickup truck.

1/8/2012 Related Story: Tulsa Woman Killed At Troubled Highway 75 Intersection

A few months later, another fatal crash occurred on that same troubled spot.

"There's been too many accidents there, deaths as well, and it's just terrible," said resident Claudetta Bruner.

Currently, north-south traffic on Highway 75 does not stop. The speed limit on the highway is 65 mph.

Several roadside memorials dot the intersection to pay tribute to victims of fatal crashes.

In 2011, the state department of transportation added flashing lights in both directions and extra large stop signs on 116th Street North to warn drivers.

"We've put all of these in place, but for whatever reason, drivers - I don't know if it's just trying to take a risk to get out on the highway, or perhaps not realizing they need to use that caution when they're entering the highway - but it is something we've had on the radar and wanted to advance if possible," said ODOT spokesperson Kenna Mitchell.

ODOT wants to build an overpass that will look similar to the one at 111th Street South and US 75.

The 116th overpass will cross over the highway and have on and off ramps to 75.

"We really hope that it does make some improvements there for drivers," Mitchell said.

Vang petitioned to have this project pushed up. He said this news is bittersweet.

"It's been almost a year now. We all still very much care about her and love her and miss her dearly," Vang said. "I do hope that with the overpass being built, it does protect other families from having this happen again."

ODOT has put the $8 million project out for bids, which will go before the Transportation Commission next month.

If approved, construction will begin in about four months.

ODOT anticipates 116th will have to close at one point during the construction.