By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
JENKS, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation opened a bridge over a busy highway, clearing congestion that's been a problem for years.
The 111th Street bridge, over Highway 75, opened this weekend.
Traffic is flowing through the intersection and that's a change from the usual back up that came with every rush hour.
ODOT took out the traffic light at 111th Street, opening up Highway 75 for a non-stop flow of cars and trucks.
The new bridge made that possible because it takes the 111th Street traffic over Highway 75. The change should improve safety and relieve congestion.
"There are 40,000 cars per day that go through this interchange and anyone who has gone through there during rush hours knows the stoplight would back up traffic, causing a lot of delays, besides there also being a safety concern," said Kenna Mitchell, ODOT.
The bridge is still being painted, and sod is being laid around the ramps. Only two lanes of the bridge are open while work continues on the north side of 111th.
Workers are already digging up the temporary road that was used for a detour during construction. The people who live nearby already see an improvement in getting around.
"Stop a lot of the accidents, I'm sure, and it will stop some of the traffic snarls over the stoplight, especially morning and evening, going and coming," said David Rounds, who is a Jenks resident.
The convenience of the bridge opening comes with a complication. For example, if you're on Highway 75 northbound and need to get on 111th, you have to exit at 121st and take an access road.
That same access road will take traffic from 111th to southbound Highway 75. The unusual flow of traffic on and off the ramps is a safety concern for ODOT.
"Lots of changes out there. We're asking drivers to really take it slow and be careful because a lot of drivers are not used to this new traffic pattern just yet," said Mitchell.
There is still a lot of work to be done around the bridge, but for the most part, traffic should flow freely until it's all done in about a month.