TULSA - All lanes of Lewis Avenue at the I-44 junction will close Monday morning as work begins on the final phase of the I-44 widening project.
Crews will add two lanes to the interstate and move the entire highway slightly to the south to eliminate a dangerous curve.
Crews will also replace the Lewis Avenue bridge, which sits above I-44.
"This will certainly be a challenge because Lewis crosses over I-44 whereas the other junctions we've improved between Riverside and Yale have had the bridge go over the street," said Kenna Mitchell, ODOT spokeswoman.
The lane closures will result in significant delays, according to ODOT. Drivers are urged to plan ahead and allow for extra time to get through.
North and southbound traffic on Lewis will be diverted to Peoria and Harvard.
"Doing the Lewis Avenue corridor last was actually by design. We wanted to make sure we had good detour routes either to the east or west," said Mitchell.
The $40 million project could last up to 20 months, though ODOT says there are incentives in place for crews to finish earlier.
Mitchell understands the frustration many drivers feel about all the road construction projects across Tulsa, especially on I-44.
"It has been several years in the making to get to this point. Certainly it's really encouraging to finally be on the last construction phase of this project," said Mitchell. "It's certainly making for a better highway in Tulsa."
Mitchell said the widening project will bring I-44 between Yale and Riverside up to current interstate standards.
The I-44 ramps, frontage roads and 51st Street will all remain open; however, ODOT says future lane closures can be expected.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Also in the headlines
A woman was found with a gunshot wound inside a Grove home Thursday night, authorities said.