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Busy ramp closes on Kilpatrick Turnpike

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- A heads up for drivers.

Monday construction crews closed a busy interchange on the Kilpatrick Turnpike.

For the next few months the southbound exit ramp onto the Hefner Parkway will be shut down.

That closure will be a daily headache for many drivers; almost 9,000 cars drive over it each day.

"It'll be inconvenient, yeah," one driver said.

"I feel like if they did it in June, it would've been better," another driver said.

"It is a little frustrating. It's gonna be three months," Cade Nelson said.

Contractors have 90 days to tear out a concrete pillar supporting the flyover and reopen the ramp.

Dismantling the bridge support will allow crews to expand the Kilpatrick Turnpike to six lanes.

"I just don't understand why they're widening it. I never thought there was a problem with the Kilpatrick," Cade said.

"Most people understand what we're doing and see the need for expansion," Oklahoma Turnpike Authority spokesman Jack Damrill said.

The seven-mile, $55 million widening project, will add one lane in each direction.

With the Hefner Parkway ramp closing, the plan is to detour drivers onto the Portland exit but that will mean thousands of extra drivers going through the signals and that will bring delays.

"You know, obviously drivers have to be patient," Damrill said. "It could stack up at that intersection."

To alleviate congestion, the city will closely monitor closely the timing of the lights at Memorial and Portland.

In order to cut down on the driving headaches, the contractor will be paid extra if they finish before deadline.

In fact, they'll make $20,000 for each day they finish early.

One other reminder, the southbound flyover being closed will not affect the northbound ramp, heading east onto the Kilpatrick.