Gilcrease Turnpike?

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On GetRightOK, Jason Carini reports on a bill from Sapulpa State Sen. Brian Bingman to authorize a toll road connecting I-44 near 49th West Ave to the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. The bill is SB 1764, and it adds the incomplete Gilcrease Expressway route, first sketched in 1956 (and then known as the Sequoyah Loop), to the list, in Title 69, Section 1705, of 34 routes and exits which the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority is authorized to build. The OTA is required to fund any new routes or exits from its own funds, generated by the tolls it charges.

Of those 34 projects, most have already been built, some are duplicates, and others are unlikely to be feasible anytime soon. OTA wouldn't exercise its authority to build a new turnpike unless sufficient revenues would be generated to pay back the bonds and maintain its bond rating.

I suspect the main purpose of this bill it to permit the use of tolls to finance the most expensive part of completing the Gilcrease route, the bridge over the Arkansas River. Most of the Gilcrease route west of the airport has been funded by Tulsa citizens through the 3rd Penny sales tax.

The route is designated Oklahoma Highway 11 from I-244 near Memorial west to US 75, where it joins 75 north to 36th St. North, then jogs west to Peoria Ave. on its way to Sperry and Skiatook. (Long term, I think the intention was to route Highway 11 on the Gilcrease to the L. L. Tisdale (née;e Osage) Expressway, and then north on that route to Skiatook. I'm not aware of plans to give the unfinished western segment of the loop a highway number. I suspect the city would create a sign for the road similar to that used for the L. L. Tisdale Expressway. (But if the OTA funds it, they'd probably follow the pattern of the barely-legible-at-highway-speeds signs used on the Creek, Muskogee, and Kirkpatrick Turnpikes.)

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David Einstein said:

Everyone needs to read The Power Broker.

Building freeways causes more problems than it give solutions. Why not spend this money on more progressive options? Light rail? Bike lanes? Seriously makes no sense to me.

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