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Oklahoma City Highways @ OKHighways.com

Interstate 35
Widening Project Between
Exit 121A (S.E. 82nd St.)
&
Exit 122B (S.E. 59th St.)

Interstate 35 has been widened throughout south Oklahoma City since the mid-1990s. I remember being rerouted onto the service roads while the first section was being rebuilt around S.E. 15th St., and over ten years later, the highway is still in the process of being widened to three lanes in each direction from Interstate 40 to U.S. 77 in Norman.

That process, however, is almost complete! The last major part to be widened is scheduled to be completed in May 2004. I see the progress on this stretch between S.E. 82nd and S.E. 59th twice a day, five days a week, as I go to and from college. Along the way, I have taken a few pictures to show the progress.

On February 19, 2004, the southbound lanes were shifted from the detour to the two inside lanes of the new mainline. That was followed two weeks later by the opening of the two inside northbound lanes on March 6. The right lane ended at S.E. 89th instead of the left lane for northbound travelers (and at S.E. 59th for southbound travelers), but that lasted for about three months. The project was completed on May 27, 2004, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

The highway is six lanes wide from S.E. 59th to Interstate 240, and eight lanes wide from Interstate 240 to S.E. 89th. This appears to have been a last minute decision, as the exit sign for S.E. 82nd St. on southbound has an Exit Only tab. It has been covered up since I took the pictures of the completed project.

Let's start with how it was before the construction began, and yes, this part was directly copied from the Interstate 35 @ OKC Highways page.

Interstate 35 North at Exit 121A - S.E.
82nd St. This exit no longer exists with
the construction project. (Photo taken
10/4/02)
Interstate 35 South at Exit 121A - S.E.
82nd St. This exit, however, will remain,
even though the off-ramp to it will be in
close proximity to the on-ramp from
Interstate 240. (Photo taken 9/4/02)
Interstate 35 North at Exit 121B -
Interstate 240 - Lawton/Ft. Smith. This
section of highway is being widened to
six lanes, so this sign no longer exists
either. (Photo taken 10/4/02)
Interstate 35 South at Exit 121B - Interstate
240/U.S. 62 West/OK 3 - Lawton/Ft. Smith.
(Photo taken 9/4/02)
Interstate 35 North at Exit 122A - S.E. 66th
St. It was kind of sad to see this sign
gantry go, because these were the oldest
exit signs in Oklahoma City. (Photo
taken 8/24/02)
Interstate 35 South at Exit 122A - S.E.
66th St. (Photo taken 11/8/02)

Now for some northbound pictures from May 19, 2003, when construction was just beginning:

Interstate 35 North at what was once Exit
121A - S.E. 82nd St. The exit has been
permanently removed as part of the
widening project taking place in the
area. The overpass was removed so a new
one could be built that can accommodate
six lanes.
Interstate 35/U.S. 77 shields near Interstate
240. These shields are now gone.
Interstate 35 North at what is normally Exit
122A - S.E. 66th St.
Interstate 35 North at Exit 122B - S.E. 59th
St. This is the northern end of the widening
project.

Perspectives from southbound on August 9, 2003:

Interstate 35 South approaching Exit 121B -
Interstate 240/U.S. 62 West - 1/2 mile.
Interstate 35 South at Interstate 240 West.
Interstate 35 South at Interstate 240 East.

Finally, one picture from September 2003 and three pictures from February 2004:

The new S.E. 82nd St. overpass, as seen
on September 26, 2003.
The new 82nd St. overpass as seen on
February 13, 2004. The center concrete
median had just been poured a few
days earlier, and the light poles were
put up the day before this picture was taken.
Interstate 35 North around Interstate 240.
Interstate 35 North at the repainted S.E.
66th St. overpass. This bridge did not
need to be torn down, but it did get a
new paint job and some redecking.

Here is what the area looked like on March 12, 2004, two weeks after traffic had been shifted to the new lanes in both directions:

Interstate 35 North as it prepares to go
over S.E. 89th St. The right lane now ends
at this interchange. This will be the case
until the construction is complete.
The detour route used during the
construction went off to the right at this
point.
The new S.E. 82nd St. overpass.
Interstate 35 North at the Interstate 240
exit. Access to the service road, S.E.
66th St., and S.E. 59th St. is also
provided from this ramp.
The Interstate 240 overpass. About all
this got was a new bridge clearance
sign.
The newly painted S.E. 66th St. overpass.
The northern end of the widening
project at S.E. 59th St. The exit ramp is
to S.E. 59th, but is closed while the
construction wraps up.
Now heading southbound; the view from
Interstate 35 South just south of S.E.
59th St.
The S.E. 66th St. overpass from
southbound.
Interstate 35 South at Interstate 240.
The Interstate 240 overpass from
southbound.
The S.E. 82nd St. overpass from
southbound.

Here are some pictures of the new signs on the highway as the construction wrapped up. These pictures were taken April 28 and May 5, 2004:

Interstate 35 North at Exit 121B - JCT
Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK 3 - Lawton/Ft.
Smith.
Interstate 35 North c/d lane at Interstate
240. These two sign gantries were the
first to be put up during the last phase
of the widening project.

Interstate 35 South near S.E. 66th St.
The sign gantry for Exit 121A on
Interstate 35 South. The gantry was
erected on May 16, but was on the
ground in this spot for a couple weeks.
Interstate 35 South at Exit 121B -
JCT Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK 3 -
Lawton/Ft. Smith.
Interstate 35 South at unmarked
Exit 122A - S.E. 66th St. The sign
for S.E. 66th was without an exit
tab at the time this picture was taken.
Interstate 35 North at Exit 122B -
S.E. 59th St. The signs in the picture
just above are on this same sign
gantry.

Finally, here are the pictures from the new stretch of Interstate 35! All of these pictures were taken May 28, 2004, the day after the construction wrapped up.

Interstate 35 North approaching the now-
closed S.E. 82nd St. exit. This sign has
still not been replaced as of June 16,
2004, even though the exit has been
closed since February 2003.
Interstate 35 North approaching Exit
121B - JCT Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK
3 - 1/2 mile, and Exit 122A - S.E. 66th
St. - 1 1/4 miles.
Interstate 35 North at Exit 121B -
JCT Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK 3 -
Lawton/Ft. Smith.
Interstate 35 North c/d lane at
Interstate 240/OK 3 East/TO Interstate
40 - Ft. Smith.
Interstate 35 North c/d lane at
Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK 3 West -
Lawton.
Interstate 35 North at Exit 122A -
S.E. 66th St. This exit ramp is placed
right after the lane from Interstate 240
merges on the highway. This is going
to cause lots of problems in the future.
Interstate 35 North at Exit 122B -
S.E. 59th St.
Switching directions, this is Interstate
35 South at Exit 122B - S.E. 59th St.
The middle sign indicated that S.E.
66th St. was closed. The sign had
not been replaced as of June 2004.
Interstate 35 South at Exit 122A -
S.E. 66th St. There was an exit tab
added to this sign in the final hours
of the project.
Interstate 35 South at Exit 121B -
JCT Interstate 240/U.S. 62/OK 3 -
Lawton/Ft. Smith. Notice the advance
signage for S.E. 82nd St. says S.E.
82th St.
Interstate 35 South c/d lane at Interstate
240/U.S. 62/OK 3 West - Lawton.
Interstate 35 South c/d lane at Interstate
240/OK 3 East/TO Interstate 40 - Ft.
Smith.
Interstate 35 South at Exit 121A -
S.E. 82nd St. The "Exit Only" text has
since been greened out, since the right
lane continues to S.E. 89th St. However,
the yellow border on the bottom half
remains.
Interstate 35 South at Exit 120 -
S.E. 89th St. The Exit Only tab belongs
here, as the right lane does exit here.