Excellent news for motorists that should make their morning commutes a whole lot easier. Efforts to reduce congestion and improve the Interstate 235 and I-44 interchange will take a big step forward early Friday as the project to reconstruct the southbound I-235 ramp to westbound I-44 opens to traffic prior to morning rush hour.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said the new NW 63 ramps to I-235 and I-44 “will remain closed until early August in order to tie it into the new roadway.”
The ODOT project was the next phase in the overall Broadway Extension U.S. 77/I-235 and I-44 corridor reconstruction and the first major project on the I-235 and I-44 interchange itself.
Motorists need to be aware of changes to traffic patterns after the I-235 and I-44 ramp opening, however.
The entrance to the new southbound I-235 ramp to westbound I-44 begins further north than the previous ramp. The newly redesigned interchange features a longer ramp which will allow for safer, more efficient travel between the two interstates.
One of the most popular ways to commute for Norman residents is to drive on Interstate 35 to Oklahoma City and Edmond.
Having commuted from the northern part of Norman to The Oklahoman office at Britton Road and Broadway Extension three times a week for nearly the last month, I found this route to take an hour each way. This includes constant trains crossing Robinson Street in the morning, construction and rush hour traffic along I-35.
Recently, I found a quicker route by taking 12th Avenue NE until it becomes Sooner Road on E I-240 or E I-40, depending on the day. You’re not stuck for what seems like an endless amount of time due to people gawking at accidents on the side of the road or the craziness of rush hour traffic.
I managed to shave a good 20 minutes off my commute each way. Other than filling the gas tank $100 every week, the commute has become slightly more bearable.
Norman resident Jamie Powers emailed her daily commuting routine. Powers said she takes public transportation every day to work because it’s more affordable and to save time.
“I get a public transportation subsidy through work, which pays for my monthly bus passes, which cost $50 per month,” Powers said. “The route I ride, the Sooner Express, costs $2.25 each way, if you don’t have a pass.
“Parking at the Homeland bus stop at 24 NW Ave and W Robinson in Norman is free. The only real problem with the bus is I’m stuck with the 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. schedule, when sometimes I’d prefer to come in earlier so I can leave earlier.”
I’m curious to find what other Oklahoma City metro residents have to say about their daily commuting routine. Email to email@example.com, or share your daily experiences on this blog.
You can also read more about traveling Oklahoma streets and highways in Don Gammill’s Traffic Talk column each Monday in The Oklahoman and every day on NewsOK.com
There is more to Oklahoma than just flat Prairie lands and oil fields. There is a whole treasure trove of hidden away gems nestled away in our very own state for travelers with a tank of gas in their vehicle to experience.
In information provided by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, during 2010, domestic travelers spent a total of $6.2 billion in Oklahoma. Of that total, $4.5 billion (73.2 percent) was spent by out-of-state travelers, while $1.7 billion (26.8 percent) was attributable to Oklahoma residents travel in the state.
Sandy Pantlik, public relations coordinator for the tourism department’s Travel Promotion Division, said many times Oklahomans believe they have to leave the state to take a vacation, but if they decided to plan a getaway in their state, they might be surprised.
” … We hear from Oklahomans all the time who have taken a leisure trip in the state and are amazed by the variety and quality of attractions in their home state and Oklahoma’s natural beauty,” Pantlik said. ” … you can literally travel to high plains and mesas in the northwest to the cypress swamps in the southeast corner.”
Here is a trio of suggestions for those in the metro area seeking to stay in-state for their vacation getaway this summer.
Featuring: architecture, museums and restaurants
Why you should go: Bartlesville boasts Frank Lloyd Wright’s only completed skyscraper, the Price Tower, which houses lodging, restaurants and an art gallery.
The Bartlesville area has a variety of sites to visit, including the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum and Woolaroc Ranch, Museum and Wildlife Preserve, the latter of which features the roaming buffalo, fine art and was the former country retreat of oil man Frank Phillips.
Featuring: music, museums and restaurants
Why you should go: Oklahoma’s second largest city, Tulsa features a variety of different museums, including the Gilcrease and Philbrook museums.
Tulsa features a variety of cultural experiences such as the Tulsa Ballet, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and other programs of the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Various musical artists come through Tulsa to play a gig at Cain’s Ballroom or the BOK Center while the Blue Dome Entertainment District is home to a variety of hip spots, restaurants and live entertainment events.
Featuring: bed and breakfasts, camping, fishing and hiking
Why you should go: Sitting on 59,000 national acres, Wichita Mountains Wildlife and Refuge Center is home to free-range buffalo, longhorn cattle and deer. Recreational opportunities for travelers include mountain biking, rock climbing and 15 miles of campsites, fishing, hiking trails and picnic areas.
The Wichita Mountains Wildlife and Refuge Center features a visitors center with features exhibits of the Wichita Mountains, interactive displays, artwork, films and a bookstore.
Medicine Park is located right outside near the entrance to the Refuge Center. Medicine Park features lodging, bed and breakfasts, food and shopping for travelers to take advantage of.
There are numerous other areas, including attractions in all directions. For travel tips and pointers to have lots of fun and minimum funds, go to KNOWIT.NEWSOK.COM/TRAVEL-TIPS.
Summer is here and as temperatures beginning to climb throughout the summer months, parents should be aware of the dangers of leaving your child unattended in your vehicle. Last year alone, there were two deaths in Oklahoma from child vehicular heatstroke death.
According to national non-profit child advocacy group Kids And Cars, each summer nearly 38 children die each year lose their lives from heat-related deaths from parents, family members or caretakers making the unwise decision to leave children alone unattended in a vehicle.
In a phone interview, President and Founder of Kids And Cars Janette Fennell said the number one mistake parents can make is thinking child vehicular heatstroke death couldn’t happen to their child.
“90 percent of the cases it happens to good parents and another 10 percent of the cases it happens to parents possibly who have been involved with drugs or alcohol,” Fennell said. “It knows no social or economic barriers.”
Fennell said vehicles act like greenhouse in the way they absorb temperature. “They absorb heat in the glass, the dashboard and the seats,” Fennell said. “In your first ten minutes you can get a jump in temperature and in twenty minutes you can get a thirty degree jump.”
Fennell said a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult. “When a child’s temperature climbs above 107 degrees their respiratory system — due to being immature — cant keep up with the amount of heat.”
Fennell said Kids And Cars offers some simple tips parents can learn on how to keep your children safe in and around vehicles.
• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.
• Cracking the windows of your vehicles has very little effect on the temperature of your car.
• Put something you’ll need like your cell phone, purse, employee ID or brief case on the floor board in the back seat.
• Look before you lock. Get in the habit of always opening the back door of your vehicle every time you reach your destination to make sure no child has been left behind.
• Keep a large stuffed animal in the child’s car seat when it’s not occupied. When the child is placed in the seat, putt he animal in the front passenger seat. It’s a visual reminder anytime the stuffed animal is up front you know the child is in the back seat in a child safety seat.
• Make arrangements with your child’s day care center or babysitter that you will always call if your child will not be there on a particular day as scheduled.
• Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.
• Keys and remote openers should never be left within reach of children.
• Make sure all child passengers have left the vehicle.
• When a child is missing, check vehicles and car trunks immediately.
• If you see a child alone in a vehicle, get involved. If they are hot or seem sick, get them out as quickly as possible. Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
For more information on Kids And Cars visit their website www.kidsandcars.org.