OWASSO, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is starting a major bridge reconstruction project on Highway 169 at the 76th Street North bridge on Monday.
“We know they’ve been asking for expansion of 169 for a long time, and we’re very pleased to begin this process,” said ODOT spokesperson T.J. Gerlach.
Gerlach says crews are taking down the two existing bridges on Highway 169 and replacing those brides with one wider bridge that will eventually accommodate a six-lane highway.
“It’s important to us to be able to increase that capacity for them to be able to ease their community to and from Tulsa,” said Gerlach.
Gerlach says the bridge replacement will take around 18 months and should be finished in the Fall of 2023. They do plan to maintain two lanes of traffic at all times during the daytime hours of the project.
Overnight, crews could drop down to one lane in either one or both directions. There may also be lane closures on 76th Street North during the work.
“There is so much traffic and it’s just lined up for quite a ways up 169,” said Becky Tesh.
Becky Tesh has lived in Owasso for three years and travels to Tulsa on Highway 169 frequently. Tesh says the traffic, especially in the afternoon, is normally backed up. She’s excited about the bridgework and the eventual widening project.
“It will be kind of challenging to deal with, but it’s one of those projects once they’re done it’ll be nice,” said Tesh.
ODOT says the most recent traffic count in 2020 showed 61,800 vehicles travel the highway every day between 56th Street North and 86th Street North.
“This is just the first step in a couple of projects that’s going to help increase that capacity,” said Gerlach.
After the bridge replacement is finished, ODOT will work to expand Highway 169 to six lanes from 66th Street North to 86th Street North. They tentatively plan to work on that expansion in 2024.
“If you can get through the challenges, it’ll make things a whole lot better,” said Tesh.
ODOT says the bridge project costs $13.6 million.
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