Highway Patrol Goes After Speeders In Tulsa's I-44 Construction Zone


Thursday, August 18th 2011, 11:52 am
By: News On 6


Lacie Lowry, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Construction progress means even more congestion along the Interstate 44 corridor in Tulsa. ODOT's work is right on track for its completion date of early 2013, but drivers may be caught by surprise by the construction at some locations. 

ODOT planners have cut down the westbound lanes of I-44 over the Arkansas River while they patch up the inside lane, and OHP says drivers are going too fast through that section. 

ODOT is placing concrete medians on the Arkansas River bridge, and traffic headed west is scary while drivers get used to the changes. 

"Close calls, I had a truck come through earlier and knock over several barrels next to my patrol unit," said Lt. George Brown, OHP spokesperson.

The posted speed limit is 45 mph, but Lt. George Brown says some drivers are being reckless. 

"The workers are right on the yellow line," he said. "Traffic is going by them 45, 55 even 60 mph at six inches from their shovels."

The bridge work is part of the $360 million I-44 widening project from Riverside to Yale. At Yale, work is basically complete. The Harvard section is 80 percent complete, and construction should be done late fall.

"We've got some more access points for drivers there, and we've also shifted them onto the new sections of pavement through there, so drivers have noticed a big change from what was there before," said Kenna Mitchell of ODOT.

The Peoria project will take two years and only started five months ago. Peoria goes back down to one lane in each direction starting Sunday at I-44.

"Lewis will be the last piece of the puzzle that we work on in this project, and that's scheduled to go to bid next year," Mitchell said.

In the meantime, slow down so construction can speed up. Traffic fines double in construction zones.

"We'll use motorcycles; we'll use cars; we may even use aircraft," said Lt. Brown. "But the one thing we will use are ink pens, and we will write a lot of tickets."

ODOT has cut down the westbound lanes of I-44 over the Arkansas River while they patch up the inside lane, and OHP says drivers are going too fast through here.

In about two weeks, ODOT plans a major traffic shift on I-44 at the Arkansas bridge. The eastbound bridge will completely shut down and all traffic will have to share the westbound bridge.

"We will have troopers assigned to traffic enforcement in the work zone on the river bridge throughout the day.  Our goal is to slow people down & make them aware of our presence all in an effort to maintain a safe work zone for everyone," said OHP trooper Lt. George Brown.

Brown says fines double in active construction zones and the minimum fine for speeding begins at $211.