At a glance
Oklahoma City Boulevard
• The boulevard replacing the old alignment of the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway was named Oklahoma City Boulevard a year ago at the request of Mayor Mick Cornett.
• The boulevard has been promoted by city leaders as the new gateway into downtown, a street designed to be the finest in the city.
• State highway engineers are preparing to let out a contract for the segment between Agnew and Western avenues. The segment would reuse much of the old highway alignment, narrow it to four lanes and allow for the city to allow new lighting, landscaping and other amenities. Contractors will be tasked with building new ramps onto Sheridan and Reno Avenues just west of Western Avenue to allow for early traffic congestion currently experienced as drivers access the new Interstate 40 from Western.
• Plans call for an elevated street as it crosses Western, Reno and Exchange avenues. This is the most controversial part of the proposed design, and opponents argue a traffic roundabout should be built to allow for the boulevard to be at grade from Western Avenue through Lower Bricktown.
• The boulevard is designed to continue at grade along the alignment of SW 3 and the old highway right of way from Lee Avenue through just east of Robinson Avenue. The road is designed to leave extra land for the new convention center planned between Robinson and Hudson avenues.
• The boulevard will drop seven feet as it approaches E.K. Gaylord Boulevard so that the street can be built under the existing Burlington Northern/Santa Fe Railway viaduct.
• The road is set to return to grade by Oklahoma Avenue. If the city cannot acquire right of way from owners of the U-Haul storage building, the boulevard's access to Bricktown will consist of a wishbone-like rerouting of Compress Avenue around the west side of the U-Haul building. The Compress option would result in a more abrupt drop in grade for the boulevard as it goes under the railway viaduct.
• The boulevard still heading east will continue at grade from either Compress or Oklahoma Avenues until it passes the Harkins Theater and Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill. The road is set to then be elevated until it re-connects with the Interstate 40/Interstate 35 junction.
STEVE LACKMEYER, BUSINESS WRITER