New Tulsa turnpike nears completion after two years of construction

TULSA, Okla. — After nearly two years of actual construction work, but more than half of a century of land acquisitions, a new turnpike in west Tulsa will open within the next month.

The Gilcrease Expressway in west Tulsa that will primarily run through the Berryhill community is set to open at the end of August or in the early part of September, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum told FOX23′s news partner 102.3 KRMG Tulsa’s News and Talk.

“The City of Tulsa started acquiring land for this turnpike in the 1950s. This is 65 plus years in the making,” Bynum said.

The new stretch of highway will be a turnpike, but it’s not clear how much the tolls will be at this time. FOX23 has reported previously residents in the Berryhill community have expressed frustration, and others have said they felt deceived by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority about how they said they were told they would not have to pay to have access to their homes using West 41st Street.

The new turnpike will connect I-44 in southwest Tulsa to State Highway 412 on the eastern edge of Sand Springs, and it helps complete what is considered to be part of Tulsa’s outer traffic loop. The hope has not just been economic growth, but it will hopefully keep more semis off of the downtown Tulsa Inner Dispersal Loop where large trucks have flipped over multiple times each year because they cannot make the turns going at high speeds.

Bynum said economic growth in the west Tulsa-Berryhill area is expected to bloom because there has not ever been direct traffic access to the area.

“It’s going to really create, I believe, opportunities for growth and development in north Tulsa and west Tulsa that were not there because there wasn’t easy transportation access to some of these spaces before,” Bynum said.