More Lane Shifts Begin For Tulsa I-44 Drivers


Wednesday, August 24th 2011, 7:24 pm
By: News On 6


Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Changes to the already congested, and sometimes confusing path through the I-44 construction are awaiting drivers Thursday.

ODOT will shift the traffic lanes on the Arkansas River bridge and close two ramps at Riverside, as part of its ongoing widening project.

The drivers who are regulars on I-44 near Riverside already know the drill: look out for the unexpected change but always expect congestion and delays.

So this far in to a total rebuild of the highway, not too many people are surprised that there's another backup in their future.

"Horrible, horrible. It's obvious, the traffic is backed up. You know you're in Tulsa when you see orange," said a Tulsa driver.

The newest change is the closure of both eastbound ramps at Riverside -- the off ramp from the bridge to Riverside and the on ramp from Riverside to I-44.

The eastbound off ramp -- the one with the hairpin turn -- is closing forever. Traffic heading for Riverside will instead have to go to Peoria and double back.

The other ramp closure is temporary while the junction is realigned and rebuilt. The other big change is a lane shift on the Arkansas River Bridge.

ODOT is moving barriers to divert the eastbound lanes into what is now the westbound side. The bridge will temporarily have two lanes of two way traffic - creating a bottleneck.

ODOT is urging drivers to go another way if they possibly can.

Drivers have learned to take it in stride, but they're eager for relief from the construction and having to wonder how they'll get where they're going each day.

Even with congestion as bad as it is, ODOT says it's going to get worse.

The lane shift on the bridge is going to create more congestion in a more narrow space. And that on and off ramp closing is sure to create more confusion. ODOT says to expect even longer delays in this area.

For the latest information on road construction in the Tulsa area, check out the Daily Detour on NewsOn6.com.