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Gilcrease Expressway to finish loop

Gilcrease Expressway to finish loop

GTR Newspapers

Associate Editor

Updated 4-19-2010

A portion of the city’s expressway system that has been on the books since 1961 may finally be seeing the light of day thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Tulsa Metro Chamber’s “OneVoice” legislative agenda, the State of Oklahoma, Tulsa County, Indian Nation Council Of Governments (INCOG) and the City of Tulsa. If completed, and certainly if is the operative word here, the Gilcrease Expressway segment running north and west of Tulsa would complete the outer expressway loop. It has been a long time coming and could have a major impact on the city’s future development.

The segment in question is a 19-mile stretch of highway running from I-244 east of Memorial Drive to I-44 at West 51st Street. Construction has recently begun on a 2.2-mile portion from the L.L. Tisdale Parkway to 42nd West Avenue. Initially the project will be built as a two-lane highway on a four-lane right of way, providing for future widening as needed. Scheduled bids for the final phase of paving for this small segment will go out in 2011. There remains a challenging stretch still in the planning stage running from 42nd West Avenue and tying in at 41st South, west of the Arkansas River. Bit by bit city leaders continue to chip away at the goal of finishing the loop in an economic climate that is, to say the least, difficult and several funding challenges lie ahead.

Legislation making its way through the state legislature under the stewardship of Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa and House Speaker Chris Benge, R-Tulsa and with bi-partisan support, would enable an Oklahoma Turnpike Authority feasibility study for a bridge crossing the Arkansas at 57th West Avenue. The study would also look at options for how best to fund the access highways to the bridge. This could include tollgates on the bridge. Funding and the eventual building of the bridge remains a major obstacle to completion of the north loop. Consequently all options to making it happen are on the table according to Gwendolyn Caldwell, Tulsa Metro Chamber vice president of government affairs... FULL ARTICLE


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