Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma – One of the biggest road projects in Tulsa history is finally finished.
What was the worst section of the Inner Dispersal Loop around downtown reopened Thursday with brand new pavement.
Workers moved the barricades that reopened the eastbound lanes of the Inner Dispersal Loop. It's the first time in almost two years that the loop connecting 5 highways was open in all directions.
It was a massive job, at $75 million, the single most expensive project ever for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The rebuild used 70,000 yards of concrete and more than 5 million pounds of steel.
And what took less than two years could have taken a decade without the quick cash of the stimulus plan.
Officials cut a ribbon to celebrate the milestone - even some of the lawmakers who didn't support the stimulus.
"Why we didn't support the original legislation is that it didn't have enough projects like this," said Rep. John Mica, (R) House Transportation Committee. "They spent $787 billion in the stimulus package and only $63 billion went for infrastructure, that's less than 7 percent."
The work was done by Sherwood Construction and Manhattan Road and Bridge, both of them Oklahoma companies.
"Both of our companies together had in excess of 650 people come through this project at one time of another, to generate $14 million in payroll and all of them from Oklahoma. A lot of people kept their job because of this project," Mike Webb, Manhattan Road & Bridge, said.
Traffic is now flowing because the money flowed from Washington in a most unusual way: a lot at once, instead of the usual piecemeal process that adds costs and time to road work.
"This should be a blueprint of how we fund transportation projects in this country," Rep. John Sullivan, (R) Tulsa, said. "This project was very worthy of the funding that it got."
While the main sections of highway are done, there is still some work to do on the Highway 75 ramps on the northeast corner of the IDL. Those bridges will be done in about 10 days.