TULSA, OK – Governor Mary Fallin, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley spoke to details on the planned extension of the Gilcrease Expressway at a press conference today in Tulsa’s Chandler Park.
Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Executive Director Tim Gatz, Tulsa County Commissioners Karen Keith and John Smaligo, members of the Tulsa City Council and representatives from the Indian Nations Council of Governments also attended.
The Gilcrease Expressway extension is one of six individual projects within the Driving Forward program announced by Governor Fallin in October 2015. The Driving Forward transportation initiative came about as a result of the need for greater public safety on Oklahoma’s roadways. Traffic, population growth, and collision studies showed a need for expansion, improvement, and repair of the transportation system as it stands today.
“As Oklahoma’s population grows, it will require a greater commitment to modernizing and improving our transportation infrastructure,” said Fallin. “The Gilcrease Expressway extension is a great example of a six-way partnership between the City of Tulsa, Tulsa County, the Indian Nations Council of Governments, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.”
The project will help relieve urban traffic congestion during peak periods. It will also provide a new and more direct route to city attractions and points of interest in the Tulsa urban core.
“Our work together on this project is based on two important truths: that infrastructure fuels economic growth and that we can achieve more by working together,” said Bynum. “I am thankful for the close working relationship our City has with the State of Oklahoma and am excited by what this announcement will mean for the future growth of Tulsa.”
Construction is expected to take two and a half years at the cost of $240 million. The project is made possible through a partnership between the City of Tulsa, the State of Oklahoma and OTA. Federal funds have also been invested in the extension. This project will not affect any part of the state budgeting process and revenue will not be diverted from other municipal or state priorities. Users of the turnpike system will pay for the project.
“We appreciate all the partners who worked together in this endeavor and their forward- looking approach to transportation,“ said Gatz. “We must make plans now to make Oklahoma’s transportation system safer and easier for our customers.”