Oklahoma transportation officials recently celebrated the opening of the I-235/I-44 interchange in Oklahoma City after three years of highway construction.
This is a critical interchange for the state capital that moves nearly 100,000 vehicles daily between the northern portion of the metro area and the city’s center, according to a news release from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).
This $105 million, three-year-long project widened I-235 to six lanes and up to eight lanes in some areas between N. 50th St. and N. 63rd St. The reconstruction includes 11 new bridges in the 1-mile-long work zone. Crews built two flyover ramps to move traffic more efficiently and safely through the interchange, and made this the first four-level interchange on the state interstate system. The flyover ramps also replaced the northeastern and southeastern loop ramps.
“ODOT has invested nearly $400 million in the I-235 and US-77/Broadway Extension corridor to meet traffic demand across the growing Oklahoma City metro area and to significantly improve safety,” Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said in a statement.
The I-235/I-44 interchange project was dubbed "Act 4" of ODOT's larger "Off Broadway" project that began in 2011. The adoption of ODOT’s Eight-Year Construction Work Plan and ultimately the creation of the ROADS Fund in 2005 by the state legislature paved the way to federal matching funds for the five interchange reconstruction phases (or five "acts"). This $241 million construction investment helps improve safety and provides a direct connection from the metro’s northern portion to its center core.
The opening of the interchange finishes almost 11 years of construction to modernize the I-235/I-44 interchange and includes adding traffic capacity, significantly lessening the chance of flooding along the corridor, and the 2018 installation of the 45-ft-tall railroad truss bridge over I-235 using construction techniques new to Oklahoma.
The last phase of this "five-act production" is an estimated $16 million project scheduled for 2023 to revamp the westbound I-44 ramp to northbound U.S. 77/Broadway Ext. and provide a direct connection from N. Lincoln Blvd. to U.S. 77. This final act is not expected to impact the main interchange traffic in a significant way.
SOURCE: Oklahoma Department of Transportation