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Fri October 28, 2016 - West Edition #22
The first of several phases to completely reconstruct the I-35/I-240 Crossroads Interchange has begun in south Oklahoma City under the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT). This phase started in May and is expected to continue until the summer of 2017.
The $12 million contract with financial incentives for early completion was awarded to an Allen Contracting Inc./Shell Construction Inc. joint venture. Both companies are based in Oklahoma City. The project includes federal funding and about $1 million in state funding.
"This phase is unique because it is essentially 'reversing' an on- and off-ramp," said Cody Boyd, ODOT media and public relations. "This will convert Santa Fe Ave. to a full interchange to accommodate the I-240 traffic that currently uses the existing interchange at Shields Blvd., which must be removed in a future phase in 2019 due to its close proximity to I-35."
This phase also includes construction of new decorative retaining walls along I-240 under Shields Blvd. ODOT is currently working with the local business community on the design for the artwork.
Specifically, this first phase reconstructs I-240 from Santa Fe Ave. about .5 mi. (.8 km) east past Shields Blvd. and constructs a new westbound I-240 off-ramp to Santa Fe and a new eastbound on-ramp to I-240 from Santa Fe. It will remove the existing eastbound I-240 off-ramp to Shields and the westbound I-240 on-ramp from Shields.
ODOT noted that traffic in this area has far exceeded what this interchange was designed to handle when it was constructed in the 1960s. More than 138,000 vehicles per day travel I-35, and nearly 104,000 travel on I-240 daily in this area.
"This is the first of six phases in a long-term interchange reconstruction effort under traffic, so drivers in this area will be dealing with ongoing construction for many years," Body said. "Specific challenges associated with this phase include temporary lane closures and lane shifts on I-240 and lane closures on the nearby service roads, which serve a large number of businesses along the corridor. Drivers also will be getting accustomed to using new I-240 on- and off-ramps."
Subsequent construction phases for the overall project are scheduled in ODOT's Eight-Year Construction Work Plan for Federal Fiscal Years 2018, 2020, and 2021.