By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- After years of planning, the work begins on rebuilding Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop. It's caused some traffic delays, but promises to smooth out the ride when it's done. For the next two years, parts of the north and west sections of the loop will be closed. The work is now underway on the east side.
The project manager, Jennifer Tyler, says the job will dramatically improve what are now the worst sections of the IDL.
"The potholes have patches and the patches have patches and we've done our best to keep everything maintained, but it's time for it to be replaced," said IDL Project Manager Jennifer Tyler.
Workers started on Monday by blocking off traffic and then installing concrete barriers to give road workers an extra layer of protection. The demolition work starts later in the week. The job starts on the counter clockwise lanes and will take about seven months.
"And, trying to detour traffic safely through the area brought us to the decision that we needed to close the highway in one direction to make repairs," said ODOT Division Engineer Bruce Arnold.
The IDL shows every bit of the wear from 40 years of traffic. The $75 million repair, money from the stimulus package, isn't all that ODOT wanted to do, but it's still the most expensive contract ODOT has ever awarded.
"We're not adding any lanes, we're replacing bridge decks and all the pavement in between the bridges," said ODOT Division Engineer Bruce Arnold.
The project is long and complicated and expensive because of all the bridges. There are 44 of them on the two stretches of the IDL under reconstruction. All of them will be stripped down to bare metal, and all of the concrete will be replaced.
On a normal day, 69,000 cars would use the section of highway, which is why it's worn out. ODOT says the reconstruction job will make it safer and smoother than it's ever been.
ODOT has provided the following information:
Inner Dispersal Loop ramps, lanes close through 2009
The following ramps will begin to be closed during the overnight hours on Sunday. All westbound lanes of I-244 on the north and west legs of Tulsa's IDL will be closed beginning at 6 a.m. Monday. The lanes and ramps are expected to remain closed for approximately seven months.
- westbound I-244 on & off-ramps at Cincinnati/Detroit (on north leg of IDL)
- southbound US-75 off-ramp to westbound I-244
- eastbound US-412 off-ramp to westbound I-244
- northbound US-75 off-ramp to westbound I-244