Tulsa area residents are invited to a public meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 13, about the Gilcrease West Expressway. The meeting will be held at the new Tulsa County Chandler Park Community Building, 62nd West Avenue and 21st Street (Avery Drive). Registration for the meeting will begin at 5:15 p.m., and the presentation will begin at 5:45 p.m.
“The Gilcrease Expressway is an important and required priority for regional economic development in Tulsa, surrounding cities and Tulsa County,” said Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “We’re going to get it done.”
The Gilcrease loop first appeared on Tulsa metropolitan area expressway system maps in 1961 – beginning at I-244 near Tulsa International Airport and looping around the north and western parts of the city to I-44 in southwest Tulsa. Initial segments were linked with Highway 75 in north Tulsa by the early 1990s. The roadway was extended to the Tisdale Parkway a year ago. Contracts are in the execution phase to continue the road westward to 41st West Avenue near the Post Oak Lodge and Tulsa Botanical Gardens.
From the south, a critical link was constructed from I-44 to 41st Street in the 1980s. However, a six-mile gap remains – including a crossing of the Arkansas River at 57th West Avenue and interchanges with the Sand Springs Expressway, Charles Page Boulevard, 21st Street and other major roadways.
The project is eligible for federal highway funding, and environmental work has been done. Also, significant parts of the right-of-way have been acquired. However, the major expenses lie in bridging the river and connecting with the expressway. The estimated cost of the bridge connecting West 21st Street and Charles Page Boulevard is $80 million.
District 2 Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith said, “It is … important to remember that public safety will be significantly enhanced with additional access across the Arkansas River.”
Sand Springs City Manager Douglas Enevoldsen said, “The Gilcrease is the missing link in Tulsa’s and Sand Springs’ overall regional transportation plan.”