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State Leaders Unveil $900M Plan To Overhaul Turnpike System

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

State officials are launching a plan to issue nearly $900 million in bonds to pay for the expansion and renovation of Oklahoma's turnpike system, including new tollways in Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

Gov. Mary Fallin and state transportation leaders unveiled plans for the new project Thursday at a Capitol press conference.

The plan calls for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to issue $892 million in bonds to fund six major projects. Those include a turnpike in western Tulsa, an extension of the Muskogee Turnpike, reconstruction of the Turner and HE Bailey turnpikes and two new loops in the southwest and northeast Oklahoma City metro.

Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley says the new projects could result in toll rate hikes of up to 16 percent and be finished in less than four years.

The details for each project are below:

Gilcrease Expressway

         Project Length: 2.5 miles

         Cost: $28 million from OTA and partnership with City of Tulsa

         Type: New road construction

         Overview: This project connects L.L. Tisdale to I-44 and completes the Western loop around the Tulsa metro area. It will help relieve urban traffic congestion during peak periods. It will also provide a new and more direct route to city attractions and points of interest in the Tulsa urban core. This will bolster safe access to Tulsa along with economic growth and opportunity.

Muskogee Turnpike

         Project Length: 9.5 miles

         Cost: $42 million

         Type: Reconstruction from “ground-up” for safety and modernization of toll plaza

         Overview: This reconstruction will occur between Creek Turnpike interchange and State Highway 51 near Coweta. It will allow for a safer and more drivable surface and provide increased safety features.

Turner Turnpike

         Project Length: 22 miles

         Cost: $300 million

         Type: Reconstruction for more lanes and safety features including lights and other future safety enhancements

         Overview: The Turner Turnpike is a vital turnpike corridor that connects Oklahoma’s two metro areas.  Improving safety and convenience on this road is a priority for the OTA. This reconstruction/safety project will occur between Bristow and the Creek Turnpike West (State Highway 364) section of the Turner Turnpike. In the last five years there have been 15 fatalities and 514 wrecks on this section of road. This project will create an “urban turnpike corridor” with lighting, wider lanes and the addition of lanes. It will allow for the future creation of truck-specific lanes for quick and safe access.

HE Bailey Turnpike

         Project Length: 7.5 miles

         Cost: $32 million

         Type: Turnpike reconstruction for lanes and safety features and toll plaza modernization for better access for PikePass customers

         Overview: This project will provide wider lanes and enhanced safety features for travel as well as improved technology for toll plaza locations for customer convenience between Bridge Creek and North Meridian Avenue near Newcastle.

Southwest OKC Kilpatrick Extension

         Project Length: 7 miles

         Cost: $190 million

         Type: New construction

         Overview: This project will be an extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike that will connect SW OKC and the metro area at-large with the urban core.  It will increase access and offer another route for Will Rogers World Airport. It will occur between I-40 and State Highway 152/Airport Road.

Northeast OK County Loop

         Project Length: 21 miles

         Cost: $300 million

         Type: New construction

         Overview: This project will allow for a connection from Eastern Oklahoma County to vital intersections for travel. This will produce a drive-time reduction to access Tulsa from the OKC Metro and a needed new loop to alleviate current congested traffic in the Oklahoma City area.  Construction will link I-40 and I-44 (Turner Turnpike) in Eastern Oklahoma County. 

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