A major widening project to unclog traffic jams in south Tulsa was built in the mid 1990s, as the 71st Street and Harvard Avenue intersection was widened. The project, which was the last project funded by the 1983 street bond issue, began in early 1993 and was finished in late 1995. Preliminary work included removing two houses on the southwest corner and one duplex on the northeast corner. Major work began in early 1993 with clearing the right of way and beginning work on retaining walls. The south approach later was closed to allow a storm sewer to be built from the intersection to Fred Creek. Following completion of the storm sewer, the south approach was excavated about 10-15 feet below the original intersection. Meanwhile, work was under way on retaining walls to help form a sound barrier for residents. These walls were built along both 71st Street and Harvard Avenue, and the southwest corner was the only area not to receive a wall. A two-lane detour for 71st Street was built in 1994 along the south side of the intersection so that the north half of the intersection could be excavated. Dirt work and paving then began on different sections, and the project was completed in late 1995. Seventy-First Street now is six lanes and Harvard Avenue is four lanes, with left- and right-turn lanes for each direction. The left-turn signals are "restricted" in that motorists only can turn left on a green arrow. Other projects in the area are, and will, help the intersection's traffic flow, as 71st Street now is six lanes between Harvard and Yale avenues, and work is under way on the section between Lewis and Harvard avenues, which, when completed, will make the street six lanes from the Arkansas River to Yale Avenue. That section is scheduled for completion in 1999. Photo taken June 1997.
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