Lacie Lowry, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- Many drivers are breathing a collective sigh of relief in their daily commute.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reopened the west leg of the IDL Thursday, which is right on target with next year's completion date.
Meanwhile, several other ODOT projects are actually ahead of schedule.
The I-44 and Darlington expansion project is progressing faster than expected. Originally set for completion in January 2011, the $11 million work to add two more highway lanes and replace a bridge should wrap up this year.
"As drivers have seen out there, there's been a lot of detours in that area, been a lot of traffic cones in that area since the beginning of the year," said Kenna Mitchell, ODOT Public Information Manager.
A similar sight at I-44 and 161st East Avenue, where construction started in January to replace two bridges and was supposed to take over a year. Turns out, it will be project will have taken less than a year to complete.
"This is one of the notorious bad bridges that we've had in the area for quite a while, so it's really good to see that the last bit of the old bridge has been removed and the new portion is going up and will be open to traffic very soon," Mitchell said.
Then there's the infamous "Dysfunction Junction." I-44 and 193rd East Avenue is five months ahead of schedule. Crews are widening the highway, replacing two bridges and improving the on and off-ramps, possibly finishing by year's end.
A motivating factor for the contractors is extra profit. ODOT offers incentives of $10,000 to $20,000 for each day the project comes under deadline.
"We also have disincentives so that if the project does go overtime, then we can penalize that the work is not completed on time," Mitchell said.
Other projects will still take the full amount of days allowed, even on projects that look almost complete.
For example, get used to the orange cones at Highway 169 near the I-244 junction until the spring of 2011.
For information about construction projects in and around the Tulsa area, check out NewsOn6.com's Daily Detour.