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IDL construction work motors along smoothly

IDL construction work motors along smoothly

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by: GAVIN OFF Tulsa World Data Editor
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
11/25/2009 3:58:10 AM

At different sections of the Inner Dispersal Loop, passing motorists can almost see the road evolving.

Some portions of the highway's north leg still resemble a gravel path. Meanwhile, portions of the highway's west leg are newly paved with 10 inches of concrete.

"It changes daily," said Jennifer Tyler, project manager for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

With the summer work season and more than 100 days under its belt, the construction project on the IDL is moving along, delay-free and on schedule.

By late February work on the loop's west leg should shift from the southbound lanes to the northbound lanes.

By late April, work on the loop's north leg should shift from the westbound lanes to the eastbound lanes.

And by early 2011, work should be complete.

"To be able to shut a major highway down is extraordinary," Tyler said. "If it hadn't been shut down completely, it would have taken a lot longer to complete."

So far, the weather has cooperated with the roughly 100 workers who spend their days on the closed portions of the IDL. Even competition for resources and manpower from other stimulus-funded projects has failed to slow construction.

The $75 million project is 30 percent complete. The project's contractors — Manhattan Road & Bridge Co. and Sherwood Construction Co, — have already refurbished six of the loop's bridges, including the ones over Charles Page Boulevard and Archer and Brady streets. They have also finished repaving the stretch of highway running from Archer Street to the Arkansas River.

As long as Tulsa isn't hit by a major storm, construction during the winter should progress just as smoothly in the coming months, Tyler said.

Since cement shouldn't be poured when temperatures are below 50 degrees, crews will likely use heaters to keep the concrete warm on certain days, Tyler said. If temperatures are cold enough, they might have to do the same when working with the steel rebar.

But work should proceed.

"As long as there's not a thick coat of ice over everything, it really doesn't slow down much," she said.

Once done, workers will have repaved the loop's entire north and west legs, including the surface of some 40 bridges.

But they'll complete the project in phases, with the west leg's southbound lane finished first, as outlined in the contract.

Tyler said, however, that it's hard to predict when certain ramps or sections of the highway might be opened, since even the slightest change in the contractor's schedule could disrupt the project's timing.

"It's difficult to plan to far out because we don't want to give false information," she said.

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