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Traffic Talk: Tulsa-area roadwork is making a difference

Don Gammill: Tulsa area seeing roadway improvements as crews work to complete projects
By DON GAMMILL Published: January 16, 2012

Among the best times to see the progress being made on a highway system is in the hours during the day when the roadway traffic count is down.

Way down.

You can get a better look when there is less stress and you're not playing Dodge 'Em.

Such was the case recently when my son and I made a nighttime trip to Tulsa, using Interstate 44/Turner Turnpike.

It gave us an opportunity to see the work being done on Oklahoma's oldest pay road, as well as improvements being made to I-44 in the Tulsa metro area. And I do mean improvements.

An obvious change on the Turner is smoother travel on a roadway that has had several surface repairs.

There also are noticeable differences in cash lanes at a couple of toll locations, such as around the Luther/Wellston exit.

A couple of highway work vehicles were traveling in lanes closed to regular traffic, apparently checking on recent repair work.

But those locations were not lengthy and all vehicles — including several large trucks — were moving unimpaired.

There's plenty of work under way in south Tulsa and much to impress the average driver.

Areas with assistance

Some areas to note, with assistance from state Transportation Department staff:

• The westbound I-44 on-ramp from Lewis Avenue is closed. Officials advise motorists to use the on-ramps at Harvard Avenue or Peoria Avenue.

• The location of the westbound I-44 off-ramp to Peoria is shifted to the east (just past the Lewis Avenue junction). Follow the signs for the exit. And here's an important note on this one. If you miss the new exit, you'll have to cross the Arkansas River bridge and turn around at the U.S. 75 junction to get to the eastbound I-44 off-ramp to Peoria. You might want to try an alternate route. At the very least, officials say, plan extra travel time.

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