New Crosstown Comes Just In Time

Thursday, January 5th 2012, 9:45 pm

By: News 9

Cars are now driving over the eastbound lanes of the new I-40 Crosstown. It's something that has been in the works since 2005.

There's a lot of history to this section of I-40 which, a lot of memories, and not all of them are good.

When it was opened in 1966, it was new and modern. Now, more than 40 years later, the crumbling Crosstown costs more than a million dollars a year to maintain.

"I have a lot of memories of the Crosstown," Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley said. "Been underneath it with the inspection teams looking at the cracks in the fracture-critical members."

Cracks and holes pockmark the old bridge. One can easily see why it has been named one of the worst bridges in the nation. It has to be inspected every six months, and that's not normal. Most bridges require inspections only once a year.

"It's a bridge that's served us well, but it needs to come down. We need to get traffic off it quickly," Ridley said.

The new 4 mile stretch of highway will do that. It comes with a price tag of $670 million. The new Crosstown has been designed to carry 173,000 cars each day on five lanes in each direction.

The new road offers new possibilities to steer new visitors into the city and the state.

"When people use it, they will see the integration of recreational facilities such as the Oklahoma River, the emergence of the economy with the skyline dominated by the iconic Devon tower," former Secretary of Transportation Neal McCaleb said.

The eastbound lanes opened Thursday. Westbound lanes are expected to open in a few weeks.


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