Emory Bryan, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A new section of construction on the I-44 widening job is starting, just as one big project is about finished.
ODOT opened up the east bound I-44 off ramp at 41st street, as they move towards wrapping up the bridge improvements at Darlington.
Monday ODOT approved a contract to continue widening to the east over to Sheridan. That's going to create a new bottleneck for traffic, right after Christmas.
The junction of I-44 and 41st Street, between Sheridan and Yale, is the next big step in the I-44 widening project. For drivers who frequent this always congested area, relief is more than a year away.
"It's not just here, it's everywhere, I don't care where you go in this town right now, you get stuck in the traffic," said one Tulsa driver.
ODOT just re-opened the off ramp by Academy Sports, clearing out a hurdle for drivers going east and exiting at 41st Street.
It's a milestone for drivers that ODOT says was helped along by unusually good weather all summer.
"It's great weather for us to be building, we want to wrap up the Darlington project, wrap it up in December, this new project for 41st and I-44 won't begin until January," said ODOT Spokesperson Matt Casillas.
There's major construction already underway on the westbound side of the highway, and it's going to build in the coming months.
ODOT is moving utility lines and breaking up rock, clearing a path for new ramps connecting I-44 to Hudson.
The new interchange at Hudson will link the highway to the Promenade Mall shopping area. In the process, ODOT will widen another half mile of I-44 to Sheridan.
ODOT awarded the $16 million dollar contract Monday morning.
"We'll widen I-44 under 41st Street, so basically where we're leaving off at Darlington, we'll widen I-44 all the way to Sheridan," Casillas said.
The job will take another year on I-44 and 41st street, but once it's done, everything east of Harvard will be six lanes.