Construction To Close Major Bridge On Kilpatrick Turnpike

Wednesday, October 24th 2012, 11:31 am
By: Dana Hertneky

It is one of the busiest interchanges in the city and it is about to be closed. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says they are shutting down the bridge from the Kilpatrick Turnpike to the Lake Hefner Parkway.

Construction crews will be closing the bridge Nov. 5 and will probably remain so for 90 days.

"It will add a little bit of extra time to my exits," agrees Gwen Roso, who is one of the 8,500 drivers who used the bridge every day.

Soon, all those people will have to figure out something else.

"It will definitely change the way I go to work and chance the way I drive," said Becka Baugher, another driver.

Construction workers will have to close the bridge in order to rebuild a pier support. Right now, the support is in the way of the new lane.

"We realize there will be delays, but we encourage your patience," said Tim Stewart, Deputy Director of the Turnpike Authority.

But patience is becoming harder to come by for some drivers, who question the need for the year-long Kilpatrick widening project in the first place.

"I think there should be work done elsewhere instead of here. I really don't think it's necessary to widen this quite yet," said Tish Zitzow, another driver.

But Stewart says the amount of traffic on the turnpike is growing 4 to 6 percent a year and it's better to do the work now.

"We are trying to stay ahead of demand so we can construct it as we are doing today, with minimum disruption of traffic, because if we wait until it's totally congested and then try and do the construction, that would be horrendous."

The bridge project should take 90 days, but the contractor will receive bonuses if they are done early. The engineer in charge tells News 9 he thinks that will happen.

"We intend to, the maximum bonus," said Stuart Ronald.

In the meantime, traffic will be detoured though the Portland intersection. The city will adjust the timing of the lights to hopefully make things go more smoothly.

The cost of the bridge project is approximately $607,271.89. It is paid for entirely by tolls.