By Chris Wright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A major construction project got underway Monday morning and it's likely to cause a massive headache for drivers.
All westbound and southbound lanes of the north and west legs of the IDL were shut down and they will not open again until the end of the year. The south and east legs will remain open.
That means drivers will be able to travel clockwise on the IDL, but not counter-clockwise.
It's already the largest project ever bid out by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. It starts at 6 a.m. Monday.
ODOT is urging drivers to avoid the IDL. If you have to head that way, officials recommend allowing yourself some extra time. It is part of a three-phase, $75 million project being funded by federal stimulus money.
The project will inevitably cause headaches for some drivers who are used to taking the IDL, but it's one many admit is long overdue.
"It needs it bad. Yeah, I'm looking for it and I'll be glad when it's over with," said Albert Young, an IDL driver.
ODOT officials understand the closure is a little confusing and they expect it to be awhile before drivers adjust to life without that leg of the dispersal loop.
"It's going to be really confusing. We anticipate that it's going to be, probably be some people late to work and we apologize for that," said Randle White, an ODOT engineer.
Still, officials hope it's a situation drivers are at least aware of before they arrive downtown.
ODOT has placed 40 message boards on I-244 and other roads near the IDL. Officials say they have set up more than 20 traffic sensors that will trigger messages about traffic delays or stops.
"We want them to plan ahead. We want them to make those plans so they don't have to try to figure out how to get to where they're going when they're here," said Randle White.
With one of the most ambitious road construction projects in Tulsa history set to cause all sorts of headaches, that's advice some are already heeding.
"I know all the back streets and around the construction, I can always take short cuts," said Albert Young, an IDL driver.
Learn more about the IDL construction zones and routes
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