I-44 and Yale interchange construction project

Monday, February 27th 2006, 6:11 am
By: News On 6

A portion of I-44 through Tulsa will be widened. Starting this week, I-44 will be widened at Yale.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says they are re-doing the I-44 interchange at Yale and putting in a new bridge. It's just one small step, but a step in the right direction. A small step, but still a major project on an extremely busy road.

Matt Moshiri: "we are trying to keep everything as open as we possibly can, that includes all the on ramps and off ramps and frontage roads."

Here's how, for the first half of the project, the westbound lanes will become the eastbound traffic. That will free up the eastbound lanes completely for construction. A temporary road will be made for westbound traffic, as well as a temporary bridge over Yale.

So how do you go about building a temporary bridge? The engineers say it's like child's play. Matt Moshiri: “basically it's like Legos, you just build it together, and it all fits together and that's basically all it is. It's in pieces and we bring it out and construct it from the bottom up."

The new bridge will be wide enough for 6 lanes but will only be striped for four, until the rest of the highway can be widened between Yale and Sheridan. The new interchange will also have a protected turnaround, sometimes called a Texas turnaround, like the one at 31st and Memorial.

During the construction period, it might be slow-going at times for motorists. "By the time we are done, everything will be brand new."

The price tag for the project is $21-million. Officials say it should take just over a year and be done next March.