Another major road project in the metro starts Monday at the junction of Interstate 35 southbound and Interstate 240 eastbound.
This phase of the Crossroads Renewal project focuses on expanding the southwest side of the interchange as well as the adjacent service road. There will be some temporary and permanent closures along the way, but the project was nearly canceled.
ODOT's massive eight-year plan came close to a screeching halt this legislative session, with threats of significant budget cuts. This project was one of 20 put on hold, but Bobby Stem, Oklahoma Association of General Contractors executive director, explained the funding for most of them had already been promised.
“[ODOT] told the contractors they were going to get ready to do things, and then the Legislature says ‘well, wait a minute. We’re going to pull back that money,’ and that’s what caused that freeze,” said Stem.
The funding issue settled, the $10.6 million phase two of the Crossroads Renewal project launches at 7 p.m. Monday, with lane closures on I-240 eastbound between Santa Fe Avenue and I-35.
At 7 p.m. Tuesday, the service road along the southwest side of the interchange narrows to one lane, and the I-240 eastbound on ramp from Shields Boulevard closes permanently.
Later, in the year-long project, the off ramp from I-35 southbound to SE 82 Street will also close permanently.
Construction is expected to wrap up summer 2018, but ODOT allows an incentive to contractors who finish early. Stem said that extra money is not for profits, but rather to reduce safety hazards on the roads.
“They say if you want to staff up, rent more machines, have people working at night, do all those kinds of things and get done sooner, great! We’ll pay you for that,” he said.
Once all six phases of the Crossroads Renewal project are complete, the interchange will consist of multiple levels with improved ramps and service roads.