Drivers traveling on the highways near downtown Tulsa may have to take a detour this weekend. The News On 6's Chris Wright reports a stretch of I-244 will be shut down while ODOT repairs a bridge.
By 7 p.m. on Friday, all west-bound lanes of I-244 near the Northwest Corner of the IDL will be closed. They will not be opened again until 6 a.m. Monday.
Anyone who ventures I-244 this weekend will have to make a detour. ODOT says the work may inconvenience some, but it is absolutely necessary.
The westbound lanes near the L.L. Tisdale Parkway Junction will close. Two ramps will also be shut down, the westbound ramp at the Detroit-Cincinnati exit, and the eastbound Tisdale off-ramp.
Drivers are encouraged to use Highway 75 and pick-up I-244 west on the other side of the city.
"You'll be on the highway. You'll be right around the loop. So it shouldn't be too much of a problem. We'll have signs in place to let drivers know about this," said ODOT's Kenna Mitchell.
Mitchell says the bridge was damaged when a semi-truck struck it last September. She says there is no risk of collapse, but a 40-foot beam needs to be replaced.
"There's nothing wrong with the structure of the bridge. However we feel because of the damage to the bridge and the beam, we do need to get it replaced so there are no further problems that could develop from this," said Mitchell.
But some people who live near the stretch of road are less than understanding, saying there is already too much traffic there.
"There's no way that can be shut down for any length of time. It's congested as it is," said Suzanne Satterfield.
"We've got too many roads to fix as is, and they're worried about this one? Come on, let's get real," said Kevin Nelson.
Like it or not, ODOT says the bridge needs to be fixed, and there is no way to accomplish that without diverting traffic.
The project will not cost taxpayers any money. Because the truck driver was at fault, ODOT says his insurance company will pick up the $70,000 tab.