Monday, lane closures happened on a busy highway interchange. Oklahoma Department of Transportation crews started work for a multi-million dollar project on the I-44/Highway 75 interchange.
ODOT said this stretch of I-44 is the oldest section of the interstate in our state. "Anyone that goes through there at rush hour knows that it backs up and it just does not handle the traffic like it needs to," said Kenna Mitchell.
Kenna Mitchell with ODOT said they often receive complaints from drivers about the I-44/Highway 75 interchange and it needs a facelift. "I-44 will definitely have a noticeable difference with the widen lanes. You're also going to see a difference with the bridges at Union Avenue and the ones over I-44 at US75 they're going to be taller, they're going to built to accommodate traffic there as well so they will be wider," said Mitchell.
She said the $90 million project includes five new bridges, including the Union Avenue bridge, and the Highway 75 bridges that go over I-44. She said over the next two years, lane closures could change daily.
"Anytime you have a major construction project like this people are going to be frustrated," said Mark Madeja.
Mark Madeja with AAA said since the beginning of COVID, they've seen aggressive driving numbers increase and said adding construction into the mix could add to the road rage. "And when we overlay those types of increasing behaviors against a major, major construction project such as this one we've all got to pull back and just say okay we need to be nice to each other on the roadways because we're all dealing with stress," said Madeja.
ODOT said this is going to be a long process and is urging drivers to pay attention to the road. "One crash in these corridors and we will have even more traffic backups because of it," said Mitchell.
You can sign up for daily updates, so you know which lanes are going to be closed each day at this website here.