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Soundwall planned in Tulsa along Interstate 44

Soundwall planned in Tulsa along Interstate 44

by: GAVIN OFF World Data Editor

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Related story: More than $4 billion in Oklahoma bridge projects approved

In the coming months, construction crews along Interstate 44 will begin work on a soundwall meant to muffle the traffic noise that the highway expansion could bring.

The $1.2 million wall, located between Harvard and Yale avenues, would help protect area residents from the noise generated by a four-year, $360 million project that will widen the highway to six lanes between Riverside Drive and Yale Avenue. The project will also upgrade on- and off-ramps near Riverside Drive and Harvard, Lewis and Peoria avenues.

Paul Green, construction engineer for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said walls are always considered during highway expansions. Such projects can increase traffic and bring traffic closer to residential homes.

Green said the wall will stand 14 feet to 16 feet tall and stretch along the north side of I-44.

He said Belk Bridge Inc. could start work on the structure as early as next month or as late as early 2010.

"We want them to start when they're comfortable," Green said.

Construction is scheduled to last 150 days.

Construction lasted fewer than two days on a U.S. 169 bridge over Pine Street that was damaged late last month when a truck traveling eastbound on Pine Street hit the underside of the span.

ODOT awarded a $70,000 emergency repair contract to Flame On Inc. out of Washington State. The company, which specializes in heat straightening, earned an additional $66,000 in incentives for finishing the project before deadline.

Green said Flame On was able to heat and bend the bridge's damaged beams back into place. Work began at 9 a.m. Aug. 31 and ended at midnight Sept. 1. The bridge, which was limited to one lane of traffic for a few days, opened all its lanes by 6 a.m. the following day.

The bridge carries about 62,000 vehicles a day.

ODOT is seeking to reclaim the $70,000 from the truck company's insurance.

Copyright © 2009, World Publishing Co. All rights reserved

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