Long-awaited SH-4 project begins

A crane sits on the ground just west of State Highway 4. Crews were expected to begin working on the highway on Monday but were delayed because of rain. The project involves the construction of a 1,500-foot bridge that will replace three outdated bridges to the east. Photo / Chris Eversole.

With signs flashing a warning that workers are in the area, officials from a Tulsa bridge construction company have begun work on a long-awaited project at State Highway 4.
The crews really began moving some dirt over the past two weeks.
A crane was recently moved into place just south of the North Canadian River, where three bridges will be replaced over the next 18 months.
The project, which also will relocate the highway about 15 feet to the west, is expected to widen the roadway to include shoulders and a center turn lane.
The initial project, which is expected to cost just over $13 million, will run from Wagner Road to Wilshire Boulevard.
Crews were working on the east side of the road near Wilshire late last week creating a pit from which to take dirt to build up the area where the new road will be located.
That area is currently prone to flooding.
City Manager Jim Crosby said last week, during a ground-breaking ceremony, that the first portion of the project will be the construction of the new bridge.
It will be 1,500 feet long and will eventually replace three outdated bridges that cross the river and two tributaries.
Crosby said that portion of the project will take the greatest amount of time.
New approaches also will be created.
During the construction project, officials with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, have said they expect few problems with traffic on the current roadway because most of the work is being done away from the highway.
However, they have asked that drivers use care in the area because there will be equipment exiting and entering the highway.
In addition to replacing the bridges, the project also includes straightening a large curve to help improve safety, especially around Wilshire.
The second phase of the project is expected to begin in about two years and will include improvements to the highway between Main Street and Wagner Road.
Crosby said the city will begin trying to purchase rights-of-way in that area in February with a goal of having utilities relocated in plenty of time for that project to begin.
The third phase of the project widens the highway from just north of Wilshire to Northwest Expressway.
That project will be done by ODOT and Oklahoma City, officials have said.
It is expected to begin in about three years.

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