Mega $85 million grant helps complete I-44/US-75 interchange in Tulsa
The White House announced today the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will receive an $85 million National Infrastructure Project Assistance grant to help fund projects related to improvements of the Interstate 44 and US-75 interchange.
Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said this is the largest transportation grant Oklahoma has been awarded in its history.
“This is exciting and welcome news for the Tulsa area and the state of Oklahoma,” Gatz said. “I-44 and US-75 are vital travel, freight and commuter corridors across the state and this Mega Grant will help us complete much needed safety and operational improvements at this highly traveled interchange.”
The Mega Grant will help fund three phases of already scheduled construction projects around the interchange. Work packages 2 and 3 are tentatively scheduled to let for construction in late 2023 and work package 5 is tentatively scheduled to let in 2024. The three projects total $205 million in improvements, including:
- completing the flyover ramps;
- new bridges at the Arkansas River, West 51st Street and West 61st Street;
- a new US-75 frontage road;
- and improvements to Skelly Drive.
The improvements support replacing and upgrading the most outdated, unsafe, and congested elements of Tulsa’s I-44 corridor that carries almost 150,000 vehicles, including about 21,000 trucks, on a typical day. Safer modes of travel for cyclists and pedestrians also will be included with new sidewalks along West 51st and 61st streets, 49th W. Avenue, and Skelly Drive; a new pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks connecting with Tulsa’s River Parks Trail; and bike lanes on West. 61st St.
Major construction concluded on the $90 million work package 1 in late 2022, which included widening I-44 between the Arkansas River and Union Ave., reconstructing five bridges around the interchange, as well as reconfiguring several ramps and pier construction for future work packages.
The Mega Grant award does not include a $10 million federal Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg announced during a visit to Tulsa in August 2022. The RAISE Grant will fund related work to reconnect West 51st Street under US-75, including sidewalks.
Sec. Gatz extended his thanks to Gov. Kevin Stitt, members of Oklahoma’s Congressional delegation and City of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum for their support of the project and grant application.
“We are very appreciative for the support of our elected officials whose assistance and commitment helped Oklahoma receive this important grant award,” he said.
The Mega grant program, created by the infrastructure law, funds projects that are too large or complex for traditional funding programs. Eligible projects include highway, bridge, freight, port, passenger rail, and public transportation projects that are a part of one of the other project types. The Mega program will invest a total of $5 billion through 2026 to help rebuild the United States’ infrastructure for the benefit of residents now and for generations to come.
Information about ODOT’s Mega grant application can be found at https://oklahoma.gov/odot/progress-and-performance/federal-grant-awards/mpdg-grants/mpdg-2022/enhancing_safety_and_mobility_in_west_tulsa.html
More information on the Mega grant awards can be at whitehouse.gov.