I-44 Ground Breaking

Friday, 07 August 2009
TAHLEQUAH, Okla.– The widening project to improve traffic flow on the I-44 corridor at 193rd E. Ave. is now officially underway.

Today, the Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation held a ceremony to break ground on this highly anticipated project.

"The Cherokee Nation values its partnership with the state of Oklahoma," said Chad Smith, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

"Together we have moved projects forward that may not have gotten off the drawing board for years if this partnership wasn’t in place. This intersection has been called ‘dysfunction junction’ for a very long time, and the community has desperately needed this expansion for years. We are glad that our combined efforts will help east Tulsa and Catoosa continue to grow."

The Cherokee Nation provided nearly $12 million in right-of-way and funding donations to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. These contributions helped advance the start date of theI-44/193rd E. Ave widening project by two years.

"This is a high priority project, and we are very pleased to start it two years ahead of schedule," said Gary Ridley, director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. "We appreciate everyone’s patience with us while we work to improve the safety and traffic flow in this area."

The project will widen I-44 from four lanes to eight at this intersection, and widen 193rd E. Ave. between Cherokee St. and Admiral to six thru lanes with auxiliary lanes.

A functionally obsolete bridge on westbound I-44 and a structurally deficient bridge on eastbound I-44 will also be replaced at this location. New entrance and exit ramps will also be constructed, including a protected turnaround for westbound SH-66 to eastbound I-44.

"This project has come at the right time with the Hard Rock rebranding of our Catoosa casino, which will attract even more local and national travelers along I-44," said David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa and Cherokee Casinos. "ODOT has been very accommodating to us and thorough at planning the massive project, while maximizing traffic flow in the process."

At least two lanes of I-44 and two lanes of 193rd E. Ave. north of I-44 will remain open in each direction between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Mon.-Fri.

Last Updated ( Friday, 07 August 2009 )