Double Tulsa Construction Projects Snarl Traffic At I-44 And 41st

Friday, June 10th 2011, 4:08 pm
By: News On 6

Craig Day, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Construction dysfunction is being felt in a busy part of Tulsa. Many frustrated drivers are wondering why two separate road projects are underway at the same time in one area, near Interstate 44 at 41st and Hudson.

It means twice the traffic tie ups.

For many who travel along 41st near Hudson, the daily delays are getting unbearable.

"We always liked this side of town; we came from downtown to get out of the traffic," said Tulsan Les Boyle. "And now we got traffic."

Business owner Les Boyle and others who work in the same office building off 41st are frustrated. Construction is making it tough for them to get around, and it's tough on clients and customers too.

"It's crippled our ability to get in and out of the office," Boyle said.

Here's the dilemma. ODOT has a project underway to reconfigure ramps and widen a small portion of 41st for better access to I-44. That's tough enough, but now the city of Tulsa has started a neighborhood rehabilitation project on nearby Hudson with a new concrete street, sidewalks, better drainage and water lines.

It's down to one lane. That limits the amount of traffic that can use Hudson as a cut through while the other work is ongoing.

"It has really, really disrupted everything," said frustrated driver Deanna McClure.

With two projects at once, it means nearby businesses are basically surrounded by work zones.

"It's more than frustrating, it's just bad news."

The city says it's better to do the Hudson project now, so it can wrap up before school resumes in August.

But many wish it would have been put off.

"It's just an absolute, chaotic mess. They just should have waited," McClure said.

The only silver lining to the orange barrel blues is that Hudson will be finished by the school year, and ODOT's project on 41st could wrap up by late July.

Until then, drivers will have to get used to a big summertime slowdown. There are penalties if construction crews don't finish the work on Hudson on time.

Those penalties amount to $2,500 a day for every day it's late.