Interstate 235 will close from 9 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday while crews take apart the bridge leading to NW 50 Street, south of the congested I-44 interchange.
OU football fans driving home from Saturday night's game, Sunday churchgoers and others are being urged to avoid the area, one of the busiest in the metro area.
All lanes are expected to reopen for Monday morning's commute.
“The name of the game this weekend is plan ahead,” said Terri Angier, spokeswoman for the state Transportation Department.
Here are the department's suggested alternatives for trips normally taken via I-235/U.S. 77/Broadway Extension between northwest Oklahoma City and Edmond and the downtown area:
• I-44, slicing across northwest Oklahoma City to I-40 west of downtown.
• I-44, through northeast Oklahoma City to I-35, then south to I-40.
• I-35, between Edmond and I-40 east of downtown.
• State Highway 74/Lake Hefner Parkway, which ties into the Kilpatrick Turnpike in far northwest Oklahoma City and merges into I-44 near NW 38 Street.
• Closer in, Lincoln Boulevard offers an alternative between NE 36 Street and I-44.
Northbound traffic on I-235 will be detoured onto NW 36. Southbound, motorists will have to exit I-235 at I-44.
The state Transportation Department said about 100,000 vehicles take I-235 through the area each day.
Work that began this summer in the southwest quadrant of the I-235/I-44 interchange involves removing the ramp from southbound I-235 to NW 50.
The ramp circled back to the north, crossing over I-235 to an intersection at NW 50. NW 50 itself crosses I-235 on a bridge just south of the bridge that is being removed.
The current $9 million worth of digging and demolition is part of a phased reconstruction of the I-235/I-44 interchange that's expected to continue for seven to eight years.
When this phase is complete in spring 2014, motorists will have a new ramp between eastbound I-44 and southbound I-235.
Sherwood Construction of Catoosa is the contractor.
Future phases include:
• Interchange improvements including “flyover” ramps.
• Improving frontage roads and widening of I-235/U.S. 77/Broadway Extension between NW 36 and Edmond.
• The new southbound I-235 ramp to westbound I-44 was recently completed.