It won’t be long now. Just hours, in fact, until you can drive on a portion of the new and improved Crosstown Expressway in Oklahoma City.
Eastbound lanes of the new Interstate 40 will open Thursday, running from the I-44 junction to downtown, about five blocks south of its old — and crumbling — predecessor.
If all goes as planned, the westbound lanes will open in another month to month and a half. It won’t be a complete opening, however. The work continues on the 10-lane freeway. A couple of lanes will be closed near Robinson Avenue until construction on the Skydance Bridge is finished next spring.
But, meanwhile, we can enjoy the lanes that are open. Be prepared. It really is much improved over what you’ve been driving on the past many years.
The new road, and the sites connected to it — such as the $5.2 million Skydance Bridge — will be impressive.
The new Crosstown runs about five blocks south of the existing freeway, from the I-44 junction to that with I-35 and I-235. Cost of the new roadway is said to be $670 million, making it the most expensive road construction project in the history of Oklahoma. Most of that, of course, is paid for with federal money.
Construction began in 2005 and is ahead of schedule, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. That is due to the construction being split into several sections, allowing crews to work on them simultaneously; good weather; and a lack of unforeseen delays.
Once the new Crosstown is complete, work can begin on the “deconstruction” of the old road. The roadway has needed constant repairs for the past several years, with holes appearing in the pavement and other problems. Soon, it will be gone altogether.
The old freeway eventually will be replaced by a boulevard, a part of MAPS 3. There also will be an urban park as part of the city’s Core to Shore plan.
Better roadway, better scenery, better opportunities for everyone.