MID-DEL, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is shutting down several miles of I-40 as crews work to remove an outdated bridge as part of a multi-million dollar project.
This closure is part of the more than $170 million I-40 Douglas Blvd. interchange and widening project and will allow crews the space needed to safely remove the Engle Rd. bridge over I-40.
Crews plan to cut the portion of the bridge over I-40 and lift it onto a self-propelled motor transport to be moved off the interstate for demolition, which lessens the amount of time needed to disrupt traffic.
“This project is twofold in that it will reconstruct the Douglas Boulevard interchange into a single point urban interchange, which will improve traffic flow through the area and then we’re widening the six lanes, I-40 corridor matching up to the previous project. So this is just another phase of that overall corridor widening,” explained ODOT spokesperson, Lisa Shearer-Salim.
For ODOT to do so, an unused and dilapidated bridge hanging over Engle Road needs to be removed.
This means shutting down a portion of I-40 starting Friday at 7 p.m.
“To safely remove this bridge from over traffic, there’s really no other way to do this than to do the full weekend closure. Unfortunately, we recognize that we are tremendously impacting the public and we want to thank them for their patience and working with us through this, because ultimately, this will save time later in the project by getting this out of the way and doing this full closure,” stated Shearer-Salim.
All eastbound and westbound I-40 traffic will be detoured during the closure to I-240.
Eastbound I-40 traffic will be detoured at I-35 to eastbound I-240 while westbound I-40 traffic will be detoured to westbound I-240 starting at Choctaw Rd.
Motorists also may consider using alternate routes such as US-62/N. 23rd St. or the tolled route of the Kickapoo Turnpike to US-62 or to I-44.
Lane closures in Oklahoma City and Midwest City include:
- The three left lanes of eastbound I-40/I-35 will be closed at Shields Blvd. and traffic will be diverted to northbound I-35.
- Southbound I-235 will be narrowed to two lanes and the ramp to eastbound I-40 will be closed. All southbound I-235 traffic must go either to southbound I-35 or to westbound I-40.
- The right lane of southbound I-35 will be closed at N.E. 10th Traffic must take westbound I-40/southbound I-35.
- Westbound I-40 will be narrowed to one lane and detoured to westbound I-240 starting at Choctaw Rd.
- Westbound I-40 ramps from Anderson Rd., Douglas Blvd., Industrial Blvd., Town Center Dr., Air Depot Blvd. and Hudiburg Dr. will be closed.
- Anderson Rd. will be closed at I-40 for bridge work during the closure.
Eastbound I-40 ramps will be closed starting in Oklahoma City and continuing east into Del City and Midwest City. Ramp closures include:
- Southbound I-35 ramp to eastbound I-40;
- Eastbound I-40 ramps from Scott St., Sunnylane Rd., S.E. 15th, Sooner Rd., Air Depot Blvd., Town Center Dr. and from Industrial Blvd., which is permanently closed.
- Southbound and northbound Douglas Blvd. ramps to eastbound I-40 will be closed
Shearer-Salim said about nine miles of I-40 eastbound will be shut down this weekend.
“The reason for that is because we do not want to dump a large amount of traffic on city streets. That’s not appropriate as a state agency,” added Shearer-Salim. “We’ve got to give people plenty of time to make those exits so that they’re not coming to a sudden stop in a crowded metro area.”
Unfortunately, Mid-Del Public Schools is caught in the cross hairs on this project.
The district’s Superintendent, Dr. Rick Cobb told KFOR they didn’t receive notice of closure from ODOT until Monday.
“This being graduation weekend, we were taken a back a little bit,” said Dr. Cobb.
Dr. Cobb said the school district has been trying to communicate with families on all platforms to ensure everyone is aware of the interstate closure.
Although a pain, he said he’s not too worried since the district has plans set in place.
“We’re still looking forward to it. It’s just, we got a couple of hiccups that caused some, just some logistical issues but I think we can get through them,” said Dr. Cobb.
He encourages anyone involved in this weekend’s graduation to leave earlier than they normally would.
All buses carrying students and faculty to graduation will depart from campus early as well, according to Dr. Cobb.
Dr. Cobb told KFOR any further updates will be provided to families on the district’s social media.
Shearer-Salim said the I-40 closure may last until 5:30 a.m. on Monday, but it could reopen sooner than that.
The contractor will also work in other areas of the project during the closure such as the Anderson Rd. bridge over I-40 to limit additional partial closures later in the project.
The overall project is expected to last until 2025, weather permitting.
Motorists may check for updates on ODOT’s social media channels @OKDOT, at odot.org and in the free Drive Oklahoma mobile app or at oktraffic.org, which displays closures and real-time speeds on interstates and state highways.
“During the weekend closure of I-40, personnel can access the installation from I-240 using Gott Gate on South Air Depot and Tinker Gate and Hruskocy Gate off of Southeast 29th Street,” said a Tinker Air Force base spokeperson.