Highway Interchange Safety Studied

Wednesday, January 30th 2008, 10:18 pm
By: News On 6

Three Tulsa metro intersections are under scrutiny.  The state is looking for ways to improve the interchanges where U.S. 169, I-44, and the Broken Arrow Expressway meet.  The ramps there create dangerous, often deadly situations.  The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports the state needs commuters to tell them to redesign the dangerous drives.

Highway 169 is packed with up to 90,000 cars every single day.  All those cars plus the highway's old-fashioned clover-leaf access ramps, makes getting on and off the highway pretty tricky.

"In fact, my family calls it the death trap because it always feels like you're about to get slammed," said driver Jackie Kueny.

Jackie Kueny says two months ago, those fears turned into a hard-hitting reality.

"So, he was accelerating to get on the interstate and just rammed up right underneath my car," said driver Jackie Kueny.

Kueny says she felt the impact in her neck and her heart.  Her son, who had just turned one year old just days before, was in the back seat.

"I just realized someone had hit me and I turned immediately around to look at my son in the car seat in the back to make sure he was safe and nothing was wrong with him," said driver Jackie Kueny.

Both Kueny and her son were fine.  But, she says the interchange is not.

"We've got to correct these highways. The interchanges are outdated and need to be improved," said ODOT's Craig Moody.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is hosting public meetings to talk about updating the access to some of Tulsa's busiest interchanges:  Highway 169 where it crosses the Broken Arrow Expressway, as well as I-44 and I-44 at the Broken Arrow Expressway.

O-DOT wants to trade the clover-leaf for longer, possibly elevated ramp.  They say would help avoid bottlenecks and improve safety.

"As everybody knows when you're sitting on the highway on a 70-mile or 60-mile-an hour highway and you're sitting still, that's not a safe feeling. And, if we can keep that movement going definitely that improves our safety," said O-DOT's Craig Moody.

"I think it's long overdue. And I think it's very, very needed for the protection of all the citizens of Broken Arrow and Tulsa and everybody that drives that area," said driver Jackie Kueny.