Creek Turnpike opening after construction project


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Reported by: Farron Salley
Updated: 10/16/2013 5:23 pm Published: 10/16/2013 3:43 pm


Drivers down the Creek Turnpike have seen construction crews and cones lining the highway for months, but on Thursday it should all be gone.

Turnpike spokesman Jack Damrill said construction is actually finishing ahead of schedule.

"Whenever you add lanes to traffic like we did and you have 58,000 cars a day, it is not an easy project to do," said Damrill.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is opening up about 8 miles in each direction to help clear some of the rush hour traffic.

"We look at travel and bumper-to-bumper traffic and stuff like that during travel times so it was getting to a point where it was congested for us," he said.

He said it should especially help drivers merging on the highway to have that extra lane and without spending an extra penny.

"It won't cost the average driver any more, we did this without raising tolls," he said.

Oklahoma tolls cost about 16 percent less than the national average.

By mid-afternoon Thursday, Damrill said drivers will be getting even more bang for their buck.

"The construction company will be in here taking down the traffic control devices starting around noon, they'll start on the west end and move east," he said.

They'll also post the new speed limit signs letting drivers know that now that construction is complete, they can drive at normal speeds.

"The highway patrol will be out here enforcing it and just because we've added a lane doesn't mean that the speed limits will increase, we'll keep the speed limits as they were," he said.

Officials also hope the end of construction will encourage businesses to start popping up.

"The construction company will be in here taking down the traffic control devices starting around noon, they'll start on the west end and move east," he said.

Damrill said they weren't planning to be done with the expansion until December and they're still saving money.

"The cost of the project was just under $60 million for us, which under what we thought it would cost so we're under budget," he said.

But he's also thinking down the long road.

"This will really open up travel we've already seen travel in Oklahoma City come back up and even go above what is was before construction and we expect that here in Tulsa," he said.

Clearing up congested traffic is the first mile marker.

"When you have an increase in traffic flow, like hopefully we'll have, we believe it will bring a lot of economic development to this area," he said.


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