Emory Bryan, News on 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority approved a $767,000 study of Tulsa's Gilcrease Expressway, to determine whether it would be viable as a toll road.
"This is a long term process to get right of way and it's been on the long term planning for Tulsa for some years," said Clark Brewster, with the Turnpike Authority Board. "It can't ever occur until you take the first step and this is it."
The planned highway forms a loop from the Tisdale Expressway, to the west, then south, crossing the Arkansas River at 57th West Avenue. It would link up with I-44 at 41st street South.
"It's this economic driver that's not there and it needs to be. If you look around the City of Tulsa, there's a missing leg and this is it," Karen Keith, Tulsa County Commissioner, said.
The highway has been in the plans since the 1960's. At the current pace of funding, the highway would take another 34 years to complete. As a toll road, it could be completed in less than 5 years.
"The nice thing about turnpikes is that once the idea, the vote is made that yes, we will build it, within three or four years there's traffic on that road, it's pretty quick," Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett said.
Bartlett is a former member of the Turnpike Authority Board.
It could be three of four years before the start of construction and several years after that before the Gilcrease Expressway could open.
4/21/2010 Related Story: New Tulsa Turnpike One Step Closer To Becoming A Reality