Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The New Year comes with a new headache for drivers coming into downtown Tulsa. It's an orange barrel alert for two of Tulsa's major commuter highways.
The bridges over Utica and St Louis Avenue on the Broken Arrow Expressway will soon be under reconstruction, choking down traffic on one of Tulsa's busiest commuter highways.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will start a four month rehabilitation project on both bridges, and at times, both will be down to one lane in each direction.
"It's just work that is desperately needed, we're just fortunate we have the funding to address those," said Randle White, ODOT Division Engineer. "We'll get in there and get out of everybody's way as fast as we can."
The most extensive repair work is underneath the bridge on 12th Street over the Inner Dispersal Loop. It's on the southwest corner of downtown. It's in such poor shape that ODOT put braces underneath it to make sure it was stable. The support columns are coming apart and they'll be replaced at a cost of $2 million.
"That basically is a major rehabilitation, a replacement of the columns underneath," White said. "That's probably the worst structure we have down there. It's critical we get to that item."
ODOT contractors were out Monday checking the First Street Ramp which is the only one of the four that will be closed down during the repairs. ODOT says it needs a new bridge deck and there's no way to get traffic around it short of a full detour.
With bridge repairs underway on the BA, and on an I-244 off-ramp, and on a bridge over the IDL, ODOT is asking drivers to have patience until the work is done.
"For some folks coming into downtown it's difficult to take a different route, so we just ask for them to be patient," White said.
Keep track of road and highway construction projects in the Tulsa area with NewsOn6.com's Daily Detour.