Dysfunction Junction Contract Approved

Monday, April 27th 2009, 6:12 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Department of Transportation approved a bid on Monday to rebuild the intersection at 193rd East Avenue and I-44.  Some refer to that intersection as Dysfunction Junction.

None of the drivers who use 193rd East Avenue need any education about how congested it is.  It's almost always clogged at I-44.

"At its worse, its 5 o'clock rush hour.  It makes you late if you're in a hurry," said one driver.

The intersection connects one of Oklahoma's busiest sections of interstate with a narrow road leading to both the Cherokee Casino and the Port of Catoosa.  Cars mix with semi trucks on roads not designed for anywhere near that much traffic.

That's why the department of transportation finally moved the project to the top of the list, accepting a $50 million bid Monday to rebuild the intersection.

The job is expected to take 19 months.

"Much needed project, that's a bad bridge, both of those bridges are in bad shape and the congestion there is awful, just awful," said ODOT's Gary Ridley.

In addition to doubling the size of 193rd East Avenue, the massive project will double the lanes on I-44 through the area.  The on and off ramps will be lengthened making it easier to get in and out of the intersection.

While the construction will create more delays, ODOT believes it can be done on time and maybe sooner.

"We have good incentives and disincentives built into the contract and expect that it will move rather quickly," said ODOT's Gary Ridley.

Part of the funding, $12 million, will come from the Cherokee Nation, which allowed ODOT to move up the job by at least a year.

The work is expected to start sometime in June.