Traffic jams have become history at Skelly Drive (I-44) and Harvard Avenue following a massive project built in conjunction with the widening of I-44 to six lanes through the area. The new street is nearly double the width of its predecessor (five total lanes) and includes a northbound dual left-turn lane on Harvard Avenue, something that has been needed for years. One lane for the dual-left turn begins south of the 51st Street intersection and continues through to the frontage road, while the second lane forms with a median just north of 51st Street. There also are three through lanes for northbound traffic and six for southbound traffic, including two lanes that form a southbound dual left-turn lane at 51st Street and a right-turn lane to go west on I-44. Gone are the days of the daily half-mile traffic jams on the southbound lanes of Harvard Avenue. The westbound frontage road also was improved and now is four lanes, with a left-turn lane, a straight-left option lane, a straight lane and a right-turn lane. Much clearing was done at the intersection for the widening, as the former Patrick Henry Apartments, which were on the west side of Harvard Avenue in the background, are gone, as is the Texaco station on the northwest corner. To the east, the Tower Suites Hotel was demolished. The former eastbound on-ramp from Harvard Avenue was relocated to 51st Street near Marion Avenue, which also is the location of the new eastbound I-44 exit to Harvard Avenue/51st Street. The ramp near Delaware Avenue was removed. The project also included replacing the I-44 bridges over Harvard Avenue with larger bridges that give more clearance on the street, which allowed for the lane expansion to occur. The length of the old bridge is about the same as the new bridge's main span over Harvard Avenue. The bridge and its shadow give this photo a "widescreen" effect. Photo taken November 2011.
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