Tulsa Businesses Brace For I-44 Construction

Thursday, August 27th 2009, 5:19 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Businesses near I-44 brace for the effects of a construction blitz along the interstate highway.

Owners on Peoria Avenue worry the $330 million widening project could take a serious toll on their stores.

The Oklahoma Department Of Transportation shut down the westbound entry ramp at I-44 and Peoria on Tuesday.

8/25/2009  Related Story: Construction Work Closes Another On-Ramp On I-44 In Tulsa

Nearby businesses hope all the work won't force them to exit the area.

The regulars showed up for their appointments at Ragtop Hair Salon on Thursday.

"The locals will always come in. They've been coming in for years and years," said Sandra Ford of Ragtop Hair Salon. "But new people trying to find us will have a difficult time."

Owner Sandra Ford bought the business last year after moving from California. She says she was not aware of the looming widening project, which will expand I-44 from four to six lanes from Riverside to Yale.

And with the nearby ramp now closed for the foreseeable future, she knows drivers will be avoiding the area. Sandra Ford said her business relies a lot on foot traffic.

"I do because I'm fairly new to the area and I like the walk-in traffic," said Sandra Ford.

A few doors down, Round the House reports about 30% of its business comes from foot traffic. Its owners tell The News On 6 that so far, business has not been affected. But it could be a long winter and owners say they are a little concerned.

"A little bit, but there's not anything you can do about it really," said Chad Large of Round the House.

But both businesses won't be going anywhere. They believe the Brookside area will continue to expand southward, and once all the construction is completed, they say all the hassle will pay off.

"Oh we'll be here. It will definitely be worth it. It'll be so nice," said Sandra Ford.

Peoria businesses will have to be patient though. The entire widening project is not expected to be completed until late 2012.