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Watch Now: Gilcrease Turnpike nears completion

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Work on what is being called the Gilcrease Turnpike is wrapping up, with the $340 million project on the western extension of the Gilcrease Expressway expected to be open to traffic sometime near the end of August to early September, officials said.

A Tulsa World tour of the highway on Friday revealed some of the work left: guardrail and cable barrier installation, wiring on highway lights, concrete work on the adjoining foot/bike path, highway striping and the addition of toll cost signs.

Work on the highway was paused Friday due to rain, but it will resume next week.

Gary Evans, with the consulting firm EST, said toll cost signs are among the last pieces to be ordered for the project.

The cost to motorists to travel the state’s shortest turnpike has yet to be decided. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority could decide at its next meeting how much to charge motorists for using the five-mile long highway that connects west Tulsa and Sand Springs to Interstate 44.

Last September, OTA officials said the toll to travel the entire turnpike would be about $2, although specific rates for individual sections had not been estimated.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority’s next regular board meeting is scheduled for Aug. 23.

T.J. Dill, Oklahoma Turnpike Authority director of construction, said the contractor has set Aug. 29 as the date for the project to be substantially complete. Turnpike officials will then review the work, a process that could take a few weeks, before opening the divided four-lane highway to the public, he said.

Once open, the toll road will connect Interstate 44 just south of West 51st Street to Edison Street, just north of the Arkansas River and U.S. 412.

The project is a collaboration between city, county, state, federal and other officials.

Officially deemed Oklahoma 344, the toll road eventually will connect on the north side to the Gilcrease Expressway, completing the long-awaited transportation loop around the city of Tulsa.

Signs along the highway indicate the speed limit to be 70 mph. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will have jurisdiction on the turnpike, as it does by contract on other OTA turnpikes.

The highway will feature 22 bridges, including two spanning the Arkansas River.

A 10-foot wide concrete trail will follow the highway’s general alignment, with the path generally on the west side of the road.

Turnpike officials have said they expect about 4,000 vehicles a day to use the highway by the end of the first year it is open.

The road will be owned by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority and will include three cashless toll-collection points.

Cashless collection methods include PikePass and PlatePay, where the bill is sent to the person who holds the registration on a vehicle that passes through a toll point.

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