OKLAHOMA CITY – A major widening and resurfacing project along I-235 will shut down the interstate between I-44 and N. 36th St. for five days beginning Friday night at 8 p.m.
I-235 is set to reopen at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 7th, however, the contractor is being offered a $40,000 per hour incentive to finish early.
If crews are able to reopen the interstate by 6 a.m. Wednesday for the morning commute, Allen Contracting Inc. of Oklahoma City will make an additional $560,000, already included in the $88 million contract, which began with a resurfacing project last August.
The cost of the entire three-year project is setting a state record at $273 million - the single largest amount ever awarded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
The project will go on despite predicted rain. ODOT Public Information Manager Lisa Salim tells Oklahoma's NewsChannel 4 that the rain is actually a good thing and will help keep dust down while removing the N. 50th St. bridge over I-235.
However, if lightning is an issue, crews will stop construction until the storm passes.
Nearly 100,000 motorists travel this stretch of I-235 daily, which means that alternate routes will be busier than usual during the five-day closure, so motorists are advised to add extra time to their commutes, especially during the morning and evening rush-hour.
Those living near the area will have to gear up for some noisy nights as construction crews will be using jackhammers to remove bridge piers.
Though I-235 will be closed between I-44 and N. 36th St., those traveling northbound will still be able to exit at N. 36th St., while those traveling southbound may also enter I-44.
Alternate routes include I-35, Lake Hefner Parkway to I-44, I-40, or Lincoln Blvd for access to the state Capitol.
Motorists may also take N. Classen Blvd and N. Martin Luther King for north-south detours, and N. 23rd, N. 36th, and N. 63rd for east-west alternate routes. For a wider view of alternate routes, click here.
At least five more closures near the same area along I-235 are expected within the next three years.
The timing of the next closure is not yet planned, but will most likely happen in the fall when crews will tackle removing the old BNSF railroad bridge above I-235, then build a new railroad bridge on-site and slide it into place.
The entire project will be complete in 2020, widening I-235 to six lanes from N. 36th St. to N. 50th St., improving one of the worst bottlenecks in all of Oklahoma, while relieving congestion, a weaving roadway, and drainage issues.