OKLAHOMA CITY - Transportation officials said one of the busiest roadways in the metro is getting a much-needed upgrade.

Crews broke ground on one of four projects to expand State Highway 74 in Northwest Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) said it is in its third phase of expansion, calling this one the most challenging due to the traffic volume.

"It doesn't matter what time of the day... there is always a line of cars," said Kathie Conrad, a commuter.

ODOT reported 21,000 cars drive that stretch of highway each day, instead of the 7,000 it was built to accommodate.

"It's the last remaining urban highway that we have in this area that is still two-lane," said Terri Angier, ODOT spokesperson.

The expansion project will widen SH-74, also known as Portland Avenue, from two lanes to a four-lane highway.

Officials said the third phase will cost the state approximately $34 million and will include reconstruction and widening from north of Memorial Road to just north of N.W. 164th Street.

"If people have an option to avoid the area, we highly recommend it," said Angier.

ODOT said two lanes will be open at all times during the construction.

However, ODOT said the speed limit will be reduced to 35 miles per hour to ensure safety for crews working in the area.

"That's going to make it rough on a lot more people," said Jim Skinner, a commuter.

With that in mind, the state offered the contractor a million dollar incentive to finish the entire expansion project early.

ODOT said it plans to send out daily traffic notices to keep drivers updated on any temporary closures to nearby intersections.

A public meeting about the project was scheduled to be held at Crossing Community Church near N.W. 150th Street and Portland Avenue, Feb. 5 from 5:30 - 7:00 p.m.

Anyone with questions about the project can get answers straight from the contractor at that time, ODOT said.