ROAD construction heats up as summer beckons

Tuesday, May 15th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

With the weather warming up, a traffic jam is the last place you'll want to be stuck. But with road construction projects tying up lanes across town, you just might be.

KOTV's Donn Robertson went up in Sky 6 to chart the progress of some of some big time highway construction. People in Tulsa know there is always road construction somewhere. People driving the new portion of the Creek Turnpike say the project is paying off. Many say it's saving them time, because it's a quicker route and its time away from traffic. Even after the morning rush hour, there is a constant sound of coins, bouncing or sliding down the plastic basket.

The new portion of the Creek Turnpike connecting the Turner Turnpike to Highway 169 is a big hit. Driver Brad Peetoom, "I Think it saves a lot of time and hassle from traffic." The Creek Turnpike extension will allow drivers to travel south of Tulsa, East of Broken Arrow and up to the Will Rogers Turnpike, east of Catoosa. Traffic hit the west loop of the Creek Turnpike in December. The portion from 169 to 129th East Avenue will be ready later this summer. Later in the fall, the section to 177th East Avenue should be finished. The entire Broken Arrow South loop which ends near the Muskogee turnpike is slated to open this fall or winter. The east loop ending near Catoosa should be fully open to traffic near the spring of 2002.

Oklahoma Department of Transportation workers say they are on schedule on the Broken Arrow Expressway widening, but there are still two years to go until the BA expressway is six lanes from the Wagoner County line to downtown Tulsa. Driver Andrea Jones, "It seems like everything is under construction around here, it seems any route you take it is torn up." As for the new portion of the Creek Turnpike, there is only one complaint. "It works out, but once again, it goes back to the price and what I have to pay for it. I travel here about four or five times a day, so it is costing me money every day."

The toll is 65 cents now, but when the entire Creek Turnpike project is finished it will cost more than $2 to travel the 33 miles. The total cost of the turnpike extension is costing $382-million.