US$5 billion turnpike widening work spans Route 66

A bridge replacement over historic Route 66 forms part of Oklahoma’s US$5 billion turnpike widening.
Road Structures / April 25, 2024 1 minute 30 seconds Read
By MJ Woof
A bridge carrying the I-44/Turner Turnpike bridge over the historic Route 66 in Wellston Oklahoma will be replaced – image courtesy of © Sue Smith|

The US$48 million project to replace the 70-year-old I-44/Turner Turnpike bridge over the historic Route 66 in Wellston Oklahoma forms part of a $5 billion highway widening project. At present 31,000 vehicles/day travel this section of the I-44/Turner Turnpike daily, on average but it is estimated that more than 55,000 vehicles/day could travel this section by 2053.

Work on replacing the bridge spanning the historic Route 66 should be complete in summer 2025. The Interstate 44/Turner Turnpike route will be widened to six lanes for the 144km stretch between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The project is being managed jointly by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) and Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Widening the corridor through a series of projects is part of the ACCESS Oklahoma long-range plan. The bridge project was awarded in September 2023 to Tulsa-based Sherwood Construction. The firm will ensure the I-44/Turner Turnpike route will remain open to two lanes in each direction throughout the bridge replacement project.

For a period of the work, summer turnpike traffic will be shifted onto a temporary detour that will cross SH-66 at ground level. To enable this, SH-66 will be closed to thru-traffic between US-177 and SH-102 for up to a year due to the temporary detour. A new westbound I-44/Turner Turnpike off-ramp will be built, moving the ramp to the west of its current location.

Motorists can expect the on- and off-ramps to SH-66 to remain open for much of the project, though these may be narrowed at times. Meanwhile,, SH-66 will be constructed to accommodate future widening to four lanes and will feature new pedestrian facilities underneath the new bridge.

Local motorists needing to access SH-66 between US-177 and SH-102 will have a signed detour while those exiting I-44/Turner Turnpike will detour to US-177 to US-62 to SH-102 to SH-66. ODOT is making a more than $100 million investment in the historic SH-66 highway corridor between Edmond and Wellston. ODOT is contributing $7.5 million to OTA's project in Wellston due to the construction that will take place on SH-66. This project will be completed ahead of the Route 66 Centennial celebration in 2026.

Route 66 is one of the most famous roads in the US, made even more famous by the song which has been performed by many artists over the years, arguably most notably by The Rolling Stones in 1964:, by Chuck Berry in 1961: and Nat King Cole in 1950:


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