When a student writes for information such as the following, I'm always happy to respond. We all should make an investment in educating future drivers. The way I see it, you just might meet them out there on the roadway some day.
I'm doing a project on Oklahoma and was wondering if you can help me with some information on Oklahoma highways, like the biggest, most used, how many turnpikes ... I want to draw a map with these on it.
Sure thing, Jim.
There are many highway routes through Oklahoma, but three main interstates cross the state. You have Interstate 35 north to south, Interstate 40 west to east and Interstate 44 from the south-southwest to the northeast.
These get the biggest share of traffic on free roadways.
There are many U.S. and state highways in our state. U.S. highway numbers include 54, 56, 59, 60, 62, 64, 69, 70, 75, 77, 81, 83, 169, 177, 183, 259, 270, 271, 277, 281, 283, 287, 377, 385 and 412.
I-44 and U.S. 412 run along turnpikes, making them a bit different.
You've heard of U.S. 66? Better known as Route 66? The Mother Road? It was one of the most famous, most traveled routes in the nation for about 50 to 60 years beginning in 1926. Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles and crossed through Oklahoma.
In 1985, the Oklahoma stretch was replaced by I-40 and State Highway 66.
Now, as for state highways, it can be a bit more confusing. There are many of them because there are alternate routes which carry a letter designation, such as SH 3A, SH 3B, SH 3W or SH 3E. Often these merge with another route.
And we have “unsigned state highways.” Some of them are just very short (a half-mile or less) and others, well, they just haven't been given a number name. Examples are: the Coyle loop route, the Poteau Bypass, the Duncan Bypass and the Langston loop route.
Another of those special routes is Lincoln Boulevard in Oklahoma City. This is an arterial street, which runs through the government complex, including the state Capitol. But part of it, from I-235 north to I-44, is designated as a state highway.
The turnpikes are also heavily traveled. They are: the Cherokee Turnpike; the Chickasaw; the Cimarron; the Creek; the H.E. Bailey; the Indian Nation; the Kilpatrick; the Muskogee; the Will Rogers; and the Turner, which is Oklahoma's first turnpike.
Overall, there's a lot there.
By the way ...
Additional information on Oklahoma's transportation system is readily available in libraries, bookstores and online, and at museums and visitor centers in our state.
One thing for sure, you need a state map. The state Transportation Department map always has been my favorite because I know the staff at the department keeps it up to date and easy for me to follow.
If you have trouble locating one, they can be found at a visitor's center, such as the one at NE 122 and the Interstate 35 access road. Or, most any state or county office can help you.
You can get a current Oklahoma map online by going to www.okladot.state.ok.us/hqdiv/p-r-div/maps/statemap/.
Good luck, Jim.
And for all you motorists ...
Enjoy your week and drive safely.