OKLAHOMA CITY — After nearly two years of construction, the Gilcrease Expressway is expected to open on Monday, officials said.
The new turnpike will facilitate travel between Interstate 44 and U.S. 412 across the Arkansas River four miles west of downtown Tulsa.
“The Gilcrease Expressway completes the west side of a Tulsa loop originally envisioned by the city of Tulsa,” said Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Deputy Director Joe Echelle. “This new turnpike provides a vital connection that allows fast and efficient travel between west Tulsa and I-44, as well as adding a needed Arkansas River crossing.”
The Gilcrease Expressway was originally conceived in the 1950s as an outer loop around Tulsa. Various parts of that loop, including the Creek Turnpike, have been completed at different times.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority recently announced a long-range plan to make improvements and expand the highway and turnpike system. The 15-year, $5 billion plan includes the Gilcrease North West segment connecting from the north end of the Gilcrease Turnpike project at U.S. 412 to the Gilcrease Expressway at the L.L. Tisdale Parkway.
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Construction on the Gilcrease Turnpike began on Jan. 30, 2020, said Brenda Perry Clark, an Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman. With its cost is estimated at $340 million, Clark said, the new road has 22 bridges and covers five miles.
“There is a trail that runs alongside the Gilcrease for bikes and pedestrians,” Clark said. “It will be complete shortly after the opening.
Related construction is expected on intersecting roadways for the next one to six months. Forty-first and 51st streets are being widened from two lanes to four lanes in the area, and left-turn lanes are being added to 21st Street at its intersection with the turnpike. Additionally, some shoulder closures will occur for the next four weeks along the new frontage roads that were created alongside U.S. 412 between 49th and 65th West avenues to provide access to the turnpike.
Passenger cars, or vehicles with two axles, traveling the full length of the new toll road on the western edge of Tulsa will pay $2.05 if using a PikePass and $4.10 if using PlatePay.
Passenger vehicles not traveling the full length will pay less, and vehicles with more axles will pay more.
For example, a vehicle with four axles will pay $4.10 using PikePass and $8.20 using PlatePay if traveling the entire length of the toll road.
PikePass accounts are prepaid, and a device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield. Tolls are automatically deducted from the prepaid account balance as a vehicle passes certain points on the toll road.
With the PlatePay system for those without PikePasses, a picture of the vehicle’s license plate is taken by cameras at certain points along the toll road, and a bill is sent to the person who holds the vehicle’s registration.
Video: Gilcrease Turnpike nearing completion