CATOOSA, Oklahoma -- Dysfunction junction should be no more. The finishing touches to a $45 million road construction project at Interstate 44 and 193rd East Avenue were celebrated Wednesday, February 16.
Crews widened the interstate at the busy Catoosa interchange that leads to the Cherokee Hard Rock Casino, replacing two bridges and improving the on and off-ramps. Underneath the interstate, 193rd East Avenue was also widened.
"We know that we had great inconvenience for everybody during construction. We know it was difficult to use this interchange," Director Gary Ridley, Oklahoma Department of Transportation said.
The intersection had been dubbed "dysfunction junction" because of the traffic back ups that caused drivers to have to wait through up to four or five light changes.
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The Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation hosted the dedication to highlight the improvements. Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith and Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley led the dedication, participating in the project by painting the final artwork on a bridge.
"Without the Cherokee Nation this project does not exist," Ridley said.
The project began in August of 2009 and was expected to last 21 months. The Cherokee Nation provided $12 million in right-of-way and funding donations which enabled ODOT to begin the project two years earlier than it was originally scheduled.
"The Cherokee Nation values our community partnerships and our relationship with the state of Oklahoma," Smith said. "Our combined efforts have accelerated the completion of this project and will help Tulsa and Catoosa continue to grow."
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