I-44 has been widened to six lanes between 31st Street and the Union Pacific (formerly MKT) Railroad, which eliminates the "gap" separating the widened sections of I-44. Construction began in the fall of 2002 and was completed in the fall of 2003. There were no bridges in this segment, so the work consisted of widening and reconstructing about one mile of highway. Concrete barrier walls, which separate I-44 traffic from the frontage roads, were poured along I-44 at the Broken Arrow Expressway interchange. New signs also were installed at the interchange, including one that directs eastbound I-44 motorists to U.S. 169 via the Broken Arrow Expressway. The direct ramp from eastbound I-44 to southbound U.S. 169 has been removed, so motorists wishing to travel south on U.S. 169 directly from eastbound I-44 now must exit a new ramp at 21st Street and follow the street a short distance east to U.S. 169. The access to northbound U.S. 169 remains unchanged. Due to the revision at 21st Street, eastbound I-44 traffic wishing to access U.S. 169 south of 21st Street now is encouraged to take the Broken Arrow Expressway to U.S. 169. The completion of the gap makes I-44 six lanes from the east interchange of I-244 to 41st Street, with the third westbound lane being an "exit-only" to 41st Street. The six lane-highway eventually will be extended to the Arkansas River, but the project has been delayed due to right of way and funding issues. Photograph taken March 13, 2005.
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