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Largest highway construction award for Tulsa project will widen I-44, rebuild U.S. 75 bridges

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Construction will last about two years from the start date of the project, an Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman said.

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Tuesday awarded a $90 million contract to widen Interstate 44 from west of the Arkansas River bridge to Union Avenue in Tulsa and reconstruct five bridges.

“This is the single largest construction award we have had for a highway project in Tulsa,” said Kenna Mitchell, an Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman about the contract that was awarded to Tulsa-based Sherwood Construction.

The roadway is expected to go from four lanes to six lanes. The U.S. 75 bridges over I-44 will also be rebuilt, along with bridges just south of the interchange over Mooser Creek. The Union Avenue bridge will also be rebuilt with four lanes and sidewalks.

Construction will last about two years from the start date of the project, Mitchell said.

It will have a big impact on traffic on Interstate 44 and U.S. 75 at the same time, including five different bridges being replaced, she said.

In addition, the clover leaf ramps will be reconfigured so they match up with the new height of the bridges for U.S. 75 over I-44.

“We are trying to keep two lanes open during peak travel time,” said Mitchell, who noted that there may be times where the corridor is down to one lane in each direction.

“We want to give everybody a heads up and ask the folks traveling that route for their patience,” said Transportation Secretary Tim Gatz. “It is going to be a significant construction project and we will have a major impact on traffic.”

An average of between 50,300 and 86,700 vehicles per day travel on I-44 between Union Avenue and the Arkansas River bridge, according to 2018 ODOT traffic counts, the most recent available.

An average of 57,300 to 69,200 vehicles per day travel on U.S. 75 near the I-44 interchange, according to ODOT.

Total cost for all improvements in the corridor is expected to be $350 million to $400 million over the next several years, officials said at a public open house on highway plans for west Tulsa in February.

Mitchell at that meeting compared the west Tulsa I-44 improvements’ cost to those east on I-44 several years ago between Riverside Drive and Yale Avenue, which she said was about $380 million.

Those improvements took years.

Of the finished I-44 expansion east of the river, Randle White, ODOT division engineer, said during the public meeting in February: “That’s what we want to do here,” in west Tulsa.


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Barbara Hoberock

405-528-2465

barbara.hoberock@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: @bhoberock

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