Downtown Drivers Should Expect Major Changes

Friday, July 17th 2009, 1:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Jennifer Loren, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Prepare for congestion and major headaches as ODOT closes entire stretches of the Tulsa Inner Dispersal Loop.  Two of the highways which surround downtown will be blocked off for at least seven months. 

The project is the largest ever awarded by ODOT, and they admit it's going to cause problems.

"It's going to be really confusing," said ODOT Engineer Randle White.

At a news conference overlooking the Inner Dispersal Loop on Friday, ODOT engineers explained the complicated construction project and warned drivers to be prepared for congestion.

"You know there will probably be some people that will be late for work and we apologize for that. But, this is something that's a desperately needed project," said ODOT's Randle White.

Two stretches of the IDL will be closed beginning at 6 o'clock Monday morning.

If you're driving west toward downtown on I-244, your lanes will end at the intersection of Highway 75.  Then, the closure continues along the loop as it turns south on the west side of downtown.

One way to remember the construction is:  if you're driving clockwise on the on the loop you won't see any construction. But, if you're driving counter-clockwise, you'll be blocked on the north and west sides of downtown.

"Anyone that's driven it knows that it looked like a patchwork quilt out there," said ODOT Engineer Bruce Arnold.

Construction crews will be ripping up the current highways and bridges and replacing them with new decks and concrete.  But, drivers are not looking forward to the mess it will create.

"I think it's going to be a big hassle, trying to get from downtown or different areas of town. It's going to be a big problem for a lot of people," said driver John Petties.

The $75 million project is being funded by federal stimulus money and includes redoing the opposite lanes of the same stretches of highway.  That is expected to take another seven months to complete.

To see what all this means, visit ODOT's web site.

ODOT has provided the following information:

Temporary lane closures on Tulsa's Inner Dispersal Loop this weekend
Drivers should expect various, temporary lane closures along the Inner Dispersal Loop near downtown Tulsa from 7 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday for IDL sign work and mobilization. The work is a moving operation and affects the following highways:
-Eastbound US-412 from SH-97 to eastbound SH-51/US-64 (NW corner of IDL)
-Southbound Tisdale Expwy. from the Gilcrease Expwy. to the I-244/US-412 (NW corner of IDL)
-Westbound I-244 from 129th E. Ave. to US-75 (NE corner of IDL)
-Southbound US-75 from 56th St. N. to the I-244/US-412 (NE corner of IDL)
-Westbound SH-51 from I-44 to US-75 (SE corner of IDL)
-Eastbound I-244 from Turner Turnpike to US-75/SH-51 (SW corner of IDL)

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