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Downtown OKC boulevard completion won't be until 2016

Changes in the downtown Oklahoma City boulevard's design mean additional public meetings, state officials say. Construction was set to begin last fall; construction now isn't expected to start until next year, pushing the completion date from 2014 to 2016.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: January 7, 2013 at 7:40 pm •  Published: January 7, 2013

The Oklahoma City Council is expected to take up the roadway's design at Tuesday's meeting.

After the city approves its design, the state Transportation Department will hold one or two additional public meetings on the planned roadway and send a recommendation to federal highway officials because the new design is different from the original concept, Evans said.

Federal approval is required

The Federal Highway Administration will give final approval.

The project is being paid for with federal dollars sent to the state Transportation Department because it is part of the I-40 Crosstown Expressway project.

The $680 million Crosstown Expressway opened last year, replacing the nearly 50-year-old elevated Crosstown.

The boulevard portion of the project is estimated to cost about $80 million; about $40 million to $45 million is for the ramps and bridges connecting the roadway to I-40 on both ends and $30 million to $35 million is for the actual roadway, state transportation officials said.

It's expected federal approval could be granted late this year, Evans said.

“Under that scenario, we would not anticipate a future construction project until the spring of 2014, and then it would be close to a two-year construction time frame … before the project would be completed,” he said.

Civic leaders intended the boulevard to be a scenic gateway into downtown, a commuter's route to and from work, as well as a route for civic projects such as the MAPS 3 convention center and urban park.

“Ultimately this will be a city street, so we certainly would like it to function like the city of Oklahoma City would like it to be,” Evans said.

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