The I-235/U.S.-77 interchange at I-44 will be widened and reconstructed starting in spring 2019 after the award of an up to $105 million project by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission to Allen Contracting Inc. of Oklahoma City.
Motorists should begin preparing their Off Broadway alternate routes before the next phase of the I-235/U.S.-77 corridor widening and reconstruction at the I-44 interchange in spring 2019.
The Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded an up to $105 million contract to Allen Contracting Inc. of Oklahoma City at its Dec. 3 monthly meeting. This contract amount topped the $88 million phase that just wrapped up in early November, making the new project the single largest dollar amount contract awarded in state history. It also represents the first four-level interchange constructed by ODOT on the state highway system.
"This is an exciting project for many reasons, and by the end of construction the most important benefit to drivers will be the end of traffic bottlenecking at the I-235/I-44 interchange," said Mike Patterson, Secretary of Transportation and ODOT executive director. "Adding new lanes and building the two flyover ramps to more safely move traffic between the two interstates brings this corridor up to modern standards."
The more than two-year widening project will bring I-235/U.S.-77 to six lanes plus auxiliary lanes at the I-44 interchange and work will take place on I-235 between N. 50th St. and N.W. 63rd St. Nearly 100,000 vehicles a day travel I-235 and a similar number uses I-44 in this area.
Eleven bridges must be built or reconstructed within the mile-long work zone in order to widen the interchange. This includes new flyover ramps from northbound I-235/U.S.-77 to westbound I-44 and from eastbound I-44 to northbound U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. Some additional highlights of the project include:
- Up to four full weekend closures of I-235/U.S.-77 and one weekend closure of I-44 at the interchange to remove bridges and to hang beams for new bridges over I-44. Motorists also can expect temporary lane closures on I-44 during some portions of the bridge work;
- once the flyover ramps are constructed, the two existing cloverleaf ramps for those movements will be eliminated. The cloverleaf ramps for westbound I-44 on-ramp to southbound I-235 and southbound I-235 off-ramp to eastbound I-44 will be widened and reconstructed. These ramps will have an up to 10-day closure later in the project;
- access to N.W. 63rd from northbound U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. will improve with two new dedicated off-ramps — one from mainline U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. and one from the eastbound I-44 flyover ramp to northbound U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. However, part of the construction of these new off-ramps will require an up to 45-day closure at the N.W. 63rd St. exit in early 2020; and
- the northbound I-235 off-ramp to N. 50th will close again to complete the ramp's widening and realignment as well as for the modification of the intersection at N. 50th St. and Santa Fe Avenue. The northbound I-235/U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. on-ramp from N. 50th is permanently closed to make room for the new northbound I-235 to westbound I-44 flyover ramp.
"Motorists were incredibly gracious and understanding during the past two years by staying Off Broadway and using their alternate routes to avoid the construction zone on I-235 between N. 36th St. and N. 50th St. and now that it's open they should not get too comfortable using this route," said Terri Angier, ODOT spokeswoman.
"This new project picks up right where we left off and is actually the most complex of all the seven phases to widen the corridor because it will impact traffic on I-235 and at times on I-44," she said. "We encourage motorists to again use their alternate routes and be patient while this necessary construction completes."
Options to avoid the I-235/I-44 work zone, where the speed will be reduced, include I-35, SH-74/Lake Hefner Parkway and N. Lincoln Blvd.
The final act of the Off Broadway I-235 corridor widening is scheduled to take place in 2020 to reconstruct the westbound I-44 ramp to northbound U.S.-77/Broadway Ext. at an estimated $16 million. All work on the corridor widening is expected to complete by 2022.