By Jeffrey Smith, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- A new highway is now open in North Tulsa. Engineers say the Gilcrease North Expressway makes traveling around town a breeze.
Monday's unveiling of the Gilcrease Expressway is just the first step in a much larger project.
City councilors say the new roadways will drive new businesses to North Tulsa.
It looks like a regular highway, but the stretch of blacktop has been a long time coming.
"This expressway has been anticipated here for about 45 years, so it's a good day that we're getting this open, and then we're looking to the west for future phases," said Engineering Design Manager Henry Som De Cerff.
City Engineers say the two mile highway between Lewis Avenue and the Tisdale Parkway will have a major impact in North Tulsa. That's because until now, traveling around the area meant navigating a series of one-way streets and dead-ends.
"I would say, North Tulsa is on the map once that's completed," said Jack Henderson of the Tulsa City Council.
Henderson says he's been fighting for the stretch of road for years and Monday's grand opening is a sign of bigger things to come.
"Economic development happens around expressways," said Henderson.
Construction cost $55 million, about 80% of that comes from the federal government.
The city will be responsible for all maintenance and repairs and they plan on expanding the expressway into West Tulsa.
Henderson says Tulsa streets are no longer the problem, they're the solution.
"With the expressway, and the streets getting fixed, and the economic development opportunities in North Tulsa, it just makes the whole thing better for the city," said Henderson.
The next section of the expressway will go from the Tisdale Parkway to the west edge of the city limits.
Bids will be advertised in the summer and construction will begin next fall.