Work is scheduled to begin Monday on two Interstate 35 bridges in the Norman area that are part of an effort to accommodate increased traffic.
A new interchange will be built, and new ramps will be installed at Main Street in Norman. The $35 million project is expected to be completed in less than two years, according to the state Transportation Department.
The Main Street bridge over I-35 will be replaced with what state transportation officials call a single point urban interchange, which includes longer on- and off-ramps at I-35 and a wider Main Street bridge.
The interchange is built around three-way traffic signals above I-35, which are designed to improve traffic flow for drivers getting on, off and through Main Street.
The project also will widen I-35 to six lanes from one-half mile north of Main Street to one-half mile south of Main Street. An estimated 75,000 vehicles travel through Norman daily on the I-35 corridor.
All the cloverleaf ramps at I-35 and Main Street will be closed.
Drivers will have to use the Robinson Street ramps to the north or the Lindsey Street ramps to the south, according to the Transportation Department.
Similar improvements are planned for the I-35 interchange at Lindsey. But the improvements will not begin until after the Main Street bridge project is complete.
Also Monday, work is set to begin to widen the I-35 bridge over the Canadian River near the Riverwind Casino. The $16 million project will add one lane in each direction on the bridge and leading to the bridge as well as make structural improvements, said Transportation Department spokesman Larry Clore.
Adding lanes to the bridge will ease congestion especially for those traveling southbound to State Highway 9 West, he said. Motorists can expect some nighttime lane closures, but no significant delays. The project is expected to take nearly a year to complete.
The Transportation Department has placed incentives for early completion on both projects to minimize inconvenience to motorists.