Tulsa Construction Signs Confuse Some Drivers

Tuesday, June 30th 2009, 5:53 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- An engineering book at the Oklahoma Department of Transportation shows that even the signs for a highway project are carefully planned and built to exacting specifications.

Despite that - many drivers have found one sign to be confusing.  The sign is a picture of the Inner Dispersal Loop that's supposed to convey what's going to be under construction.

"We've got the construction worker symbols here on the north and west legs, trying to let people know that's the part that's under construction," said Kenna Mitchell of ODOT.

ODOT admits the scope of the IDL construction project made signage for it a challenge - but they believe once everything is in place - drivers will be able to understand what's ahead.

 "So we're trying to put up many signs, in as many ways as possible, to let drivers know there are changes ahead," Kenna Mitchell said.

While traffic is for the most part flowing freely on the IDL now - once the full construction starts, two sections of the highway will close down.

The lane closures could take as long as two years.

ODOT says they have more signs coming, but they won't be installed or revealed until the heavy construction starts - and traffic needs to take a detour.

For ODOT, the challenge is to convey the information in the few seconds drivers have to read the sign.

That's why many signs will have duplicates a little further down the road.

"We're also going to have close to 40 changeable message boards up, connected to a smart work zone system. Drivers will have real-time information as they enter and go through the zone to tell them about a delay ahead, a stop ahead, anything to get them through quicker," Mitchell said.

ODOT says another wave of signs will be installed tomorrow on all highways leading towards the IDL.

There is a web site that will be updated with the latest lane closure and directions throughout the IDL project.