I-44 widening: 51st Street to remain two-way

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Bobby of Tulsa Topics also runs his neighborhood's blog -- Lewis Crest News -- and he's got some good news up about the I-44 widening. After worries that 51st Street between Lewis and Harvard would be turned into an eastbound-only service road, ODOT's latest plan, unveiled at a public meeting to night, has 51st remaining as two-way street, but with an additional turn lane. Good news for the homeowners and businesses on the south side of 51st. Businesses on the north side of 51st will still be wiped out when I-44 is widened, and there's still no timeline for when that will happen.

Bobby promises video and more details from the meeting later on Tulsa Topics.

I understand the desire to complete six-laning this stretch of road, but I don't understand why it should take priority over an even more heavily-loaded, dangerous stretch of I-44 -- the four miles in east Tulsa between the junction with I-244 west of 145th East Ave and the junction with Oklahoma 66 east of 193rd East Ave. Through traffic can easily bypass the section of I-44 in midtown Tulsa by taking I-244, which is wider, newer by about 20 years, and much less heavily loaded. But the east Tulsa segment, the most heavily traveled highway segment in Oklahoma, is almost unavoidable. (The Creek Turnpike is an alternate route, albeit a circuitous and expensive one.) Six lanes of westbound traffic from OK 66, I-44, and US 412 funnel down to two. From the other direction, four lanes from I-44 and I-244 merge into two. A traffic accident can paralyze the road for hours. Traffic coming from the west on I-244 can't spot a backup until it's too late to exit

If it were up to me, I'd make an upgrade of the east Tulsa segment top priority, and swap signs between I-44 and I-244. Make the newer, wider, better road the designated route for through traffic.


mad okie Author Profile Page said:

I drive the western portion of I-44 every workday, I fail to see how come any buildings east of lewis need to be removed, the green space between the two directions of traffic can easily accomidate at least 2 more lanes of traffic, not to mention the green space to the north. its once you get between the west bound exit ramp to lewis and riverside where the need for building removal would be needed. and even then go north. Was the Camelot spared again?

Bobby said:

Michael, you have a good point about switching the signs I-44 and I-244. One of the first LCNA meetings that I attended was about the I-44 widening project. That meeting was 7 years ago at Christ Presbytarian Church and the plans that were displayed then don't even come close to comparing to the plans now.

At the meeting, there was one rather outspoken gentleman that brought up the fact that ODOT was encouraging more truck traffic down the "middle of Tulsa" instead of routing the trucks on I-244.

Most larger cities that I have traveled through via car seem to do this.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on November 3, 2005 10:50 PM.

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