I-44 has been widened to six lanes in the Harvard Avenue area, which has improved traffic flow at 51st Street and Harvard Avenue and on I-44, as well as improving safety on the highway. The new design features a continuous merge lane between exits, so traffic has plenty of time to merge into the mainlanes. The eastbound right lane in the foreground becomes an exit-only lane at the Harvard Avenue exit, which is on 51st Street near Marion Avenue. As a result of the new entrance/exit ramp combination, the old eastbound ramp near Delaware Avenue (this side of the office tower at left) was removed, as was the eastbound entrance ramp from Harvard Avenue. The grassy area that lines the south side of the interstate into the distance was the site of businesses, motels and apartments until a few years ago, at which time the Oklahoma Department of Transportation bought the land and demolished the properties for the highway, including a seven-story office tower. In the background, the interstate's new pavement ends near Columbia Avenue, and an asphalt approach connects the new road with the old alignment. The new highway will continue straight through the trees in the background and connect with the section presently being built between Riverside Drive and Victor Avenue. However, that will not occur until the Lewis Avenue segment (includes between Victor and Columbia avenues) goes to contract in 2012. It is scheduled for completion in late 2013. In the distance, the new Lewis Avenue exit sign has an "exit only" sign covered up. That sign will be utilized after the Lewis Avenue segment is completed, as that ramp is the continuation of entrance ramp from Harvard Avenue that will exit at Lewis Avenue. When those sections are complete, the I-44 widening project across Tulsa also will be complete. Photo taken November 11, 2011.
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