Norman drivers should plan now for the next and most challenging phase of the massive Oklahoma Department of Transportation project to widen I-35 to six lanes and reconstruct two interchanges. Beginning Tuesday, April 26, the Lindsey Street bridge over I-35 will be closed until the new Single Point Urban Interchange is completed in early 2017.
All I-35 on- and off-ramps at Lindsey Street will also be closed. Travelers to and from University of Oklahoma commencement ceremonies, sporting events and other university activities should use the on- and off-ramps at SH-9 East.
Before the project began in early 2015, ODOT announced that the Lindsey Street. bridge and ramps would have to be temporarily closed to facilitate construction of the new interchange. The closure of the Lindsey Street bridge has been put off as long as possible, but work has progressed to the point that it must be deconstructed to make way for the new SPUI.
The good news is that work was phased so that the new SH-9 East interchange will open as an alternate route for Lindsey Street traffic. Beginning Tuesday, SH-9 East will provide new access to through traffic between the Ed Noble Parkway/28th Ave. S.W. on the west side of I-35 and 24th Ave. S.W. just east of the interstate. These routes will serve as the detour for Lindsey Street until early 2017.
When work is completed, the new Lindsey Street SPUI will feature longer I-35 on- and off-ramps, a wider bridge and single array of traffic signals similar to the Main Street interchange. These features allow a SPUI to move a large amount of traffic more efficiently than other interchanges.
The public can view traffic advisories for the Oklahoma City metro area including Norman or sign up to receive them by email at www.odot.org. Drivers should continue to expect delays and congestion on I-35, especially during peak travel periods, like rush hour, weekends and holidays.
The $71 million contract for this project was awarded by the Oklahoma Transportation Commission in December 2014 and work began in March 2015. It is currently the single largest contract awarded for an ODOT project. The contractor, Sherwood Construction Co. of Tulsa, has a very aggressive work schedule in place and stands to earn up to $2 million in financial incentives for early completion.
As part of this project, the City of Norman partnered with ODOT to construct a drainage structure and add artwork and landscaping to the new Lindsey Street bridge. The City of Norman is also improving Lindsey Street east of I-35 as part of a separate project. More information on the city’s project can be found at lindseystreetnorman.com.