The capital city of the Sooner State, Oklahoma City (pop. 506,132) is in the center of it all. It is a crossroads for many travels across the country, as two major interstates (Interstate 35 and Interstate 40) intersect here, and another interstate (Interstate 44) provides easy access from the capital city to Lawton, Tulsa, Joplin, and St. Louis. Oklahoma City hasn't always been the capital of Oklahoma, however. Guthrie, located about 30 miles north of downtown Oklahoma City, held that distinction until the middle of the night of June 11, 1910, when the state seal was moved to Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City's freeways are sometimes considered by non-Oklahoma residents to be the worst in the country, and, to be honest, I can see why they would think that. Both Interstate 35 and Interstate 44 narrow to one lane in each direction at some point in Oklahoma City: Interstate 35 follows one-lane ramps at the Interstate 235/Interstate 40 interchange, and Interstate 44 follows one-lane ramps at OK 66. Along with rough road surfaces in some spots, the freeways can be a little tricky at times for those unfamiliar with the area.
Currently, there are no major construction projects in the works on Oklahoma City's interstates. A major project just wrapped up May 27, 2004, and that is the widening of Interstate 35 between Exit 120 (S.E. 89th St.) and Exit 122B (S.E. 59th St.). The interstate was widened to six lanes (three in each direction) from Interstate 240 to S.E. 59th, and eight lanes from Interstate 240 to S.E. 89th.
Another major construction project is about to start, and that is the relocation of Interstate 40 near downtown Oklahoma City. Currently, Interstate 40 runs along the Crosstown Bridge between Exit 149A (Western Ave.) and Exit 151A (Lincoln Blvd.). The bridge was built in the 1960s to accommodate much less traffic that it has today. With substandard shoulders and acceleration/deceleration ramps to add into the mix, plus a road surface that has seen pieces actually fall onto the ground below, the Crosstown definitely needs replacement. A new 10-lane (!) highway between Western and Lincoln is scheduled to be completed by 2010, and will be on ground-level about seven blocks south of the current alignment. Ten lanes is a very wide highway by Oklahoma standards! Personally, I can't wait until that gets finished, because I would love to see it, and be able to cover its completion right here on OKHighways.com!
There is one more construction project in progress, in far southwest Oklahoma County, and that is the relocation of OK 152. Between County Line Rd. and Council Rd., the highway has been realigned. Eventually, Airport Rd. will be extended westward to meet up with the completed section of the new OK 152, but for now, OK 152 runs along S.W. 44th St. and Council Rd. to meet the new alignment, as the map below shows.
Map of OK 152's new alignment in southwest Oklahoma City.The line heading to the northeast from the top right corner is Airport Rd. Construction is in progress to connect Airport Rd. to the new alignment of OK 152 at Council Rd., and is scheduled to wrap up in early 2006.
Besides the three interstates, the Oklahoma City area has three other freeways: the Broadway Extension (U.S. 77 between Interstate 44 and Memorial Rd. in Edmond), the Lake Hefner Parkway (OK 74 between Interstate 44/OK 66 and the Kilpatrick Turnpike), and the Kilpatrick Turnpike, which connects Interstate 40 near Yukon to Interstate 35 near Edmond.
Click on one of the links to the left to see pictures of Oklahoma City's freeways.