Federal and state taxes finance redo of city’s Broadway Extension ramp
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Published: 20-Dec-2010
By Stacy Martin

Published: 20-Dec-2010

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation plans a $24 million remodeling of two exit ramps coming from Broadway Extension onto westbound I-44, said an ODOT spokesman.

“Drivers won’t be negatively affected by the two ramps’ reconstruction because the will be built slightly offset from existing ramps, allowing traffic to flow as it has been,” he said.

The ramps come from both north and southbound Broadway Extension, awkwardly merging at one point. Both ramps create bottlenecks vexing to drivers. Plans are to complete this project by summer 2011, weather permitting, he said.

Work will not disrupt commuter traffic because the new ramps will run parallel to the old ones. So drivers will continue using the old ramps during the project.

Work is intended to give commuters smoother exiting from Broadway Extension and joining westbound I-44.

“This is one project in what we call the I-44, Broadway Extension, I-235 corridor, Cole Hackett said. “During rush hour a lot of times there is backup on that ramp.

We’ve been working our way to that interchange. During rush hour a lot of times there’s backup in existing (Broadway extension to west bound I-44).”

The project is funded by $19.1 million in federal funds plus $4.8 million in state dollars.

The Broadway Extension carries 83,000 cars a day, while that stretch of I-44 averages about 88,400 drivers daily. Both spike significantly during rush hour, he noted.

Ultimately, ODOT will completely overhaul that stretch of Broadway Extension, Hackett said.

“Eventually when it’s done we’ll have flyover ramps and will turn up and over the interchange, you’ll have free movement. We won’t have that weaving movement as you try to get on and off the interchange. Unfortunately we don’t have a big pot of money to do it all at once (replace all four ramps), he said. “We just do one project at a time with money we have.”

Once the interchange is completely finished it will have a cloverleaf design, with traffic flowing freely on highways “flying over” each other, typical of what’s seen in larger markets such as Dallas and Los Angeles.

“We’ll be doing another couple of ramps around 2014 and 2016, although those plans may be subject to some adjustments depending on ODOT finances.

“The major thing we’re trying to do is expand that area just like we have done north of NW 63 St,” Hackett said. “We’ll be broadening that bridge overpass.”

NOTE: Martin is editor of The City Sentinel, a weekly newspaper in Oklahoma City where this news article is also appearing this week.

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