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Expect Delays on Broadway Extension Monday Morning

by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: September 9, 2013 at 12:05 am •  Published: September 8, 2013

This is not an advisory by Oklahoma City Police, the Highway Patrol or the Department of Transportation. This is my prediction, based on years of traveling and observing the behavior of a particularly annoying breed of drivers: the gawkers.

These people are quite content to slow down on a busy roadway just to fulfill their own curiosity. I credit many readers of OKC Central with being smarter than this, but, in the interest of doing what I can to possibly satiate the demand of seeing what remains of the NW 50th bridge over Interstate 235/Broadway Extension, I’ll post the following photos:

First, let’s get a look at the bridge that no longer fits into the long-term plan for reconstruction of I-235/Broadway Extension. It’s important to note that this bridge is not the 50th Street bridge, but rather is a secondary access bridge that served nothing other than traffic wanting to access the highway from NE 50th and a city park that has been unused and surplus for a long time:

The 50th Street bridge is shown at the bottom of the photo. The bridge torn down this weekend is shown toward the top of the photo.
The 50th Street bridge is shown at the bottom of the photo. The bridge torn down this weekend is shown toward the top of the photo.

There is an industrial area that loses out a bit of access as a result of this change, but the grand plan for the I-235/I-44 interchange includes building a Santa Fe Avenue bridge that will connect the two dead-end sections north and south of I-44:

It’s the logical design that should have taken place decades ago. But remember, Broadway and I-44 were designed in a different era when I-44 was lined with motels and travel-dependent businesses, and the interchange couldn’t be easily arranged to protect both those interests and those of the industrial interests lined up along Santa Fe Avenue. So the odd 50th Street access bridge was created, along with other less than ideal connections, to make everyone happy. By the late 1990s, the travel related interests were all gone, the Santa Fe industrial district was at best stagnant (certainly not growing anymore), and the Broadway/I-44 junction was considered the most dangerous in the city.

And that’s how we ended up with the reconstruction now underway:

I know, I know. I scares me too. But the changes made so far have improved traffic, and I’ve been assured this change will be for the better.

OK, now we get to the part that hopefully will address the interest of the gawkers and maybe prevent them from slowing down so much.

Kids, a bridge got torn down Saturday night. The wrecking crews did a great job in getting the job done ahead of schedule. No, we can’t ask the ODOT engineers to take over construction of what’s left of Project 180, and note, we’re not seeing Rudy Construction being employed on this junction job either.

You can read a story written about the demolition here - great job by Bill Crum. And here are photos taken Hans Herman Thun, ODOT and The Oklahoman:

The Oklahoman
The Oklahoman

 

ODOT
ODOT

 

ODOT photo
ODOT photo

 

Hans Herman Thume photo
Hans Herman Thume photo
Hans Herman Thun photo
Hans Herman Thun photo

Alright. So these photos will prevent the gawkers from screwing up our morning drive, right? No, you’re right. They’re stupid. They’ll slow down and gawk anyway. Expect delays on Broadway Extension Monday morning.

 

by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter and columnist who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's Metropolitan...
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