Drivers Bypassing Barriers To Get Around I-44 Construction

Thursday, April 21st 2011, 6:36 pm
By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A mass of construction has led to a mess of congestion along I-44. It's causing big problems for businesses.

There's a constant line of traffic on Skelly Drive going east, at least trying to go. Most times, it's a backup. With delay comes frustration, so drivers turn out and cut through the parking lots of businesses.

"What they're doing is finding a way to cut over to 41st as fast as they can. They don't want to get held up in this traffic, so they find their off road ways," Shane Devilbiss, LaQuinta Inn, said.

In front the LaQuinta Inn, drivers have hit the barrels, they've driven over landscaping and spikes meant to block their way. They've cut through red tape to get onto roadbed that's under construction.

"I'm just trying to find a way to relieve this problem because somebody is going to get hurt," Devilbiss said. "They're already hit one of my guests, they've almost hit my maintenance man, one of them challenged me with his car physically to try to get me to move."

"We certainly don't encourage drivers to go around any barriers. Those are set up not just to protect crews in the areas, but also other drivers. Really folks should not be going around those barriers," Kenna Mitchell, with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said.

The construction is going to last through the end of the year. The City of Tulsa controls the traffic signals and says the construction makes it impossible to set up a better system, but they promise to take another look to see if there's any relief possible.

ODOT says they do the best they can to give businesses the access they need, and try to not create new shortcuts through the property. The problem is that it's up to drivers to do the right thing and as we've seen, they don't always do that.

Find the latest information about construction projects in and around Tulsa by checking out the Daily Detour.