The days of heavy traffic congestion on Harvard Avenue at 51st Street are history, as the intersection has undergone a massive widening project in conjunction with the I-44 widening project through the area. To get an idea of just how wide the new intersection is compared to the old one, the two piers on the I-44 bridge are in the area of where the old bridges' abutment walls stood. Add a span to each side and a pier, and this will give you an idea of where the old road was located (basically beginning just to the right of the through lane adjacent to the northbound left-turn lane). As a result of the overloaded intersection, half-mile traffic jams were common for most directions on a daily basis, especially the eastbound left-turn lane, and northbound and southbound traffic in general. The intersection received numerous improvements, including dual left-turn lanes for all but northbound traffic and extra lanes for through traffic, with each approach having at least five (total) lanes for through traffic. A right-turn lane also was added for northbound traffic. Harvard Avenue was widened from the Little Joe Creek bridge to north of I-44, with the south approach containing four through lanes for northbound traffic plus a single northbound left-turn lane and a right-turn lane. The fourth northbound lane is joined by a second lane immediately north of 51st Street that form a dual left-turn lane at I-44. Southbound traffic has a dual left-turn lane at 51st Street, while the three remaining lanes continue through the intersection and then narrow to two near Little Joe Creek. A new I-44 entrance/exit ramp was built near Marion Avenue to accommodate Harvard Avenue motorists. As a result, the former exit ramp intersection and signal on 51st Street near Delaware Avenue was removed, as was the old eastbound entrance ramp from Harvard Avenue. Photo taken November 11, 2011.
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