This 61st Street and Lewis Avenue intersection once was a dangerous facility that consisted of four lanes on Lewis Avenue, two lanes on 61st Street, and some close calls when left turns were made. The cable-strung signal was an ordinary light, so Lewis Avenue motorists had to turn when they got the chance and cross two lanes of traffic, as compared to 61st Street motorists who only had to cross one lane. Improvements began on the intersection in November 1975 with the Joe Creek bridge on 61st Street. The two-lane bridge was demolished and replaced with a four-lane structure, which opened in August 1976. Construction began on the intersection in September 1976, and no-left-turn signs were in place on Lewis Avenue throughout the project. They later were installed on 61st Street, and Tulsa police officers were present with their bullhorns to tell motorists "No Left Turn!" when one tried to turn left. The motorists eventually caught on, so officers no longer were present. The project, which widened the intersection to four lanes with a left-turn lane on each approach, was completed in mid-February 1977, only five months after construction began and four months before the U.S. Open golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club. Following completion of the intersection, a new culvert was built at the entrance to Southern Hills. The intersection handled traffic well during the U.S. Open and will get another test in a couple of weeks when the 1982 PGA Championship is played at Southern Hills. Photo taken July 1982.
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