I-244 delay into downtown to continue into November

TULSA - A portion of I-244 will remain closed for another month, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced Thursday.

ODOT said the interstate will be shut down eastbound at the southwest corner of the IDL through Nov. 21.

Workers will use the time to repair an overpass near 3rd Street and Nogales Avenue that was damaged by a truck Monday.

All lanes of east and westbound 3rd Street near the site will close 9 a.m. Friday and will be under construction until further notice.

The shutdown of both lanes of Charles Page Boulevard under the bridge will affect many residents on the northwest side of the city. They say it'll be more than an inconvenience. Road closures will cut their link to downtown.

"We live right here, which is two blocks aways from the bridge, but of course we have to go three miles out of the way just to go about two blocks. It's quicker to walk," said resident Scott Vostad.

Vostad says the timing isn't good -- but then again, it never is.

"Well this weekend's a big weekend. And I was hoping to have the convenience to get downtown to go to Oktoberfest and things like that," he said.

ODOT says the damage to the bridge was extensive.

"Crews are actually going to have to replace about 80 feet of the steel beam, and also a significant portion of the deck," said ODOT spokeswoman Kenna Mitchell.  

Mitchell says a project like this usually takes months, but ODOT plans to tackle it in weeks. Meanwhile traffic on I-244 is being detoured to the south leg of the IDL.

"We need to get it back open as quickly as possible. We're trying to do it before Thanksgiving. And again, as early as we can," Mitchell said.

ODOT is offering crews a $20,000 per day incentive to speed up construction. Mitchell says it will cost about $450,000 to repair the bridge. She says all  of that will be paid for by the responsible party.

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