The Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced the fourth and final construction phase of the I-44 widening project between Riverside Dr. and Yale Ave. in Tulsa is a step closer to getting underway.
On Monday, The Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a $50 million bid by Manhattan Road and Bridge Co. and Allen Contracting, Inc. for the Lewis Ave. corridor. For drivers, the news was a mixed bag. They're happy the I-44 widening project will soon come to end, but they know there will be sacrifices to get there. Kyle Wright was happy to enjoy a peaceful day at the park Monday, because driving near his home in south Tulsa has been anything but peaceful recently. “We live at 53rd and Utica, and we just seem to be trapped with construction all around us,” Wright told FOX23. He was not happy when he learned about the state’s plans for the final phase of the I-44 construction project near Lewis Avenue. That phase will force O-DOT to close Lewis Avenue for much of the 14 month construction time. “That's going to be rough, that's going to be really rough. I'll have to find an alternate route home and there just seems to be no way around all that construction in that area,” he said. People who work at businesses near the construction site are nervous. “That's just going to hurt us over here. I know that we're already struggling, there's people going out of business,” Lauren Price, who works at a shopping center near 51st and Lewis, told FOX23. She says what concerns her most about this massive project is the timeline. She says 425 days is a long time to close a major road. “That's a long time, and it could hurt us pretty bad.” Kyle says even though construction is annoying, the finished product should be great. “It'll be nice when I am finished.” While Lewis Avenue is closed, O-DOT will divert traffic to Peoria and Harvard Avenues for drivers heading north or south. Two other major construction projects in the area should be finished by the start of 2013. On Monday, O-DOT said work near I-44 and Riverside as well as bridge work near Yale and Harvard on the Broken Arrow Expressway should be finished by January. Work on I-244 near the Gilcrease Expressway intersection should be done in Spring 2013. The westbound I-244 bridge over the Arkansas River should be completed next summer.
The I-44/Lewis Ave. project is expected to start in early fall 2012 and mainline work is expected to complete by late 2013. Incentives will be in place to expedite the project. Lane and ramp closures will be noted in the Traffic Advisories section of www.okladot.state.ok.us