Motorists driving east on the Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway need to be alert at the Dallas interchange, especially if they want to get off the roadway to head south toward Norman or north toward
The southbound I-35 and northbound I-235 exits were changed Monday. Instead of sharing the same ramp, they are now two separate exits.
The changes were made as part of work being done for the new expressway. They come just days ahead of the Labor Day holiday, when motorists are expected to head for the highways for the last three-day weekend of the summer, and before Saturday evening's University of Oklahoma football home opener in Norman.
“As long as they realize there's a lot of construction in the area and to pay particular attention to the signs, they should be fine locating their way around and knowing what exit to take,” said Brenda Perry, a spokeswoman for the state Transportation
They're simple changes, but motorists may end up going in the wrong direction if they don't pay careful attention. Motorists saw the changes for the first time about 5 a.m. Monday.
Those driving in rush-hour traffic may have been caught off guard.
The right lane of the three-lane Interstate 40 Crosstown is now an exit-only lane for southbound I-35.
Eastbound motorists wanting to take the northbound I-235 ramp should get in the center lane of the Crosstown.
After the I-35 South exit, the Crosstown narrows to two lanes; the center lane becomes the right lane and motorists may stay on that to either take I-235 North or continue eastbound on I-40 where the roadway eventually expands to five lanes.
State Transportation Department crews were to paint new markings Monday night to make it clearer for motorists to navigate the exits, Perry said.
The exit signs are temporary ones, not the typical larger green signs.
The speed limit remains 60 mph, so all motorists should use caution in the event a motorist ahead of them stops suddenly to make a lane change to get to one of the exits.
Motorists shouldn't get too used to the changes. The new exit and lane configurations are expected to remain in place through mid-September. And then they'll change again.
“I don't have specifics of exactly how,” Perry said. “There's a ton of bridgework going on in that interchange and is what is producing these different configurations.”
Conditions are going to change continually as various paving and other construction work is under way on the new Crosstown Expressway.
Work started on the project in 2005.
“Overall we are at the phase of construction now that lane closures are affecting drivers more and more,” Perry said.
“For years we've built a lot of this without affecting them.”
Other areas affected on the Crosstown because of construction work
It's expected motorists will be able to drive on the new 10-lane Crosstown Expressway in late April. The new roadway is about five blocks south of the existing Crosstown, which now skirts downtown Oklahoma City.
Even when the paving work is finished and motorists are driving on the new roadway, construction on the $670 million project will continue for another year or so.
View a map of current traffic
conditions in the Oklahoma City metro area.