Craig Day, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- No more traffic hassles for a stretch of a busy Tulsa highway. Drivers who took U.S. Highway 169 got a nice Christmas present over the holiday weekend.
Although not technically finished, a widening project on the highway between the cities of Owasso and Tulsa is far enough along that there are no longer orange barrels or construction equipment on the roadway.
Delivery driver Kandi Brown travels on that stretch of highway as many as five times a day.
When the road was under construction to build the additional lanes, the trips sometimes took five times as long.
"It can be pretty hectic, especially around five o'clock and sometimes in the mornings," said Brown.
But Brown and other drivers got a nice Christmas present from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. There are now no lane closures and that pleases many drivers.
"I think they did a good job on it," said driver Ramsey Tumacder. "I'm really happy and most of all, no delays," said Kandi Brown.
"It's pretty nice now," said Ramsey Tumacder.
ODOT added two inside lanes to 169 from I-244 to 56th Street North.
While the project isn't technically finished, it's far enough along to open all lanes to traffic.
That's good news for drivers and businesses like the AT Convenience store at Pine and 169.
"It was dragging me down," said Turek Islam.
Islam is the owner of the convenience store and says construction slowed down business by 20 percent.
He's hopeful that will change now.
"It's helping us business, more traffic coming in and out, it is convenient for customer and convenient for me too," said Turek Islam.
ODOT still has to put down a special top layer of asphalt, which will mean better traction and less road spray. That can't be done until the temperature is above 60.
The Department of Transportation didn't want to wait that long and went ahead and opened the lanes.
"Trying to wait for favorable days to place that stuff, we would have extended lane closures that would continue to hamper traffic so to speak," said Mark Zishka with ODOT.
There will be some lane closures when that top layer is eventually put down, but for now, it's a much better and faster drive which for many is a great way to start off a new year.
All of the work, including that last top layer, is on schedule and should be finished no later than the end of March.
Keep track of the highway construction projects in the Tulsa area by clicking on NewsOn6.com's Daily Detour.