Oklahoma identifies 27 sections of highway in need of crossover barriers

Wednesday, July 16th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The state has targeted 27 metropolitan highway areas prone to crossover collisions for safety repairs, but funding problems could delay efforts to fix them.

Oklahoma City has the most crossover collision areas. Only five of the most dangerous stretches of highway are in Tulsa, said Mills Gotcher, transportation department spokeswoman.

The state Department of Transportation reviewed accidents on Oklahoma City and Tulsa area interstate highways from Jan. 1, 2000 to Dec. 31, 2002.

The state is looking at installing safety cables or concrete barriers in the medians to reduce the risk of crossover accidents.

The concrete barriers cost $500,000 a mile, compared to about $200,000 a mile for safety cables, Gotcher said.

Because of funding problems, the sections where crossover collisions have occurred were prioritized for when money becomes available, she said.

A project to install safety cables was approved by transportation commissioners in May after safety cables on Lake Hefner Parkway in Oklahoma City proved to be effective.

Since installation of those cables, there have been 146 impacts with cables on the parkway but no fatalities, the department said.

The project will install concrete barriers in the median of Interstate 40 between Meridian and MacArthur in Oklahoma City. This section has been ranked as top priority.

Cables will also be installed in the median of I-35 in Cleveland County between State Highway 9 north and Indian Hills Road in Norman, a 6.3-mile stretch ranked No. 4.

The No. 2 interstate section on the list is on a section of I-35 that crosses Interstate 240 in Oklahoma City. Lane widening is expected to help solve the problem of crossovers there, she said.

The third-ranked crossover section on the list is on Interstate 44 between Harvard and Yale in Tulsa.

Other Tulsa interstate sections on the list are I-44 between Lewis and Harvard, No. 6; I-44 between Yale and Sheridan, No. 22; I-244 from the I-44 interchange, east one mile, No. 10; and I-244 from State Highway 11 East to Mingo Road, No. 14.