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Gilcrease Expressway project moves ahead with Turnpike Authority resolution

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on Tuesday passed a resolution designed to further the work on the Gilcrease Expressway.

Earlier this month, officials announced a plan to complete the road’s west arm. It involves a funding partnership among the city of Tulsa, the Indian Nations Council of Governments, Tulsa County, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, the federal government and a private investor.

The 5-mile, four-lane roadway will include an adjacent multi-use trail and feature 22 bridges, including the two most expensive Arkansas River crossings.

The extension from Interstate 44 to West Edison Street will be a toll road owned and operated by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority, said Tim Gatz, OTA executive director.

The OTA on Tuesday unanimously passed a resolution allowing it to accept contributions from any source, and other things of value to build, maintain and operate the Gilcrease Expressway Turnpike project.

It authorizes Gatz to initiate efforts to enter agreements with the necessary parties to advance the Gilcrease Expressway as an Oklahoma turnpike project.

The estimated cost for completing the final leg of the project is $290 million, Gatz said.

He said it is too soon to say when the project will be completed.

Gatz said the partnerships are significant and illustrate how government should operate.

The Gilcrease Expressway is “an extremely critical transportation facility in Tulsa,” Gatz said.

ODOT will be asked next month to review the route and provide concurrence. Then, a working group will be formed to flesh out how to move the project forward, Gatz said.

Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Chairman Albert Kelly Jr. said that when it is completed, the project will be a safety relief valve that offers greater access and development in Tulsa.

Read the complete story at the Tulsa World.

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