Interstate 244 or I -244 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The highway is located in the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s second largest city. I-244 is the main thoroughfare from the southwest and east to the city center. I-244 is 25 kilometers long.
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The highway has three names; the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Expressway, Crosstown Expressway and the Red Fork Expressway.
I-244 begins at Oakhurst, a suburb of Tulsa, where Interstate 44 exits east. I-244 continues straight toward downtown and has 2×2 lanes. A little further on, the US 75 merges, hereafter the highway is called the Red Fork Expressway. After this, 2×3 lanes are available, and the highway runs past an oil refinery and a large shunting yard. A little further on you pass a third oil refinery. Tulsa’s economy was previously heavily based on the oil industry. It crosses the Arkansas River and enters downtown, where Interstate 444 exits to the east. Given its size, Tulsa has quite a skyline, which can be viewed from the highway.
After a mile, you’ll come to a major interchange where US 64, the Keystone Expressway, exits west to Stillwater and Enid, and the Osage Expressway continues straight north. I-244 exits east, passing north of downtown. A little further on, one crosses the I-444 again, and turns off the US 75 towards the north. This is a complicated interchange with many flyovers. After this, the highway is called the Crosstown Expressway, and 2×4 lanes are available. The road is mostly below ground level. Near the airport, the SR-11 turns off, the Gilcrease Expressway, which leads to the airport. One kilometer further on, one crosses theUS 169, the Mingo Valley Expressway, which leads north-south through the east side of Tulsa. A little further on, I-244 ends at Interstate 44, which leads toward Springfield and Saint Louis in Missouri.
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Before I-244 was built, through traffic was already able to get around Tulsa by using I-44, which is further from downtown. This is one of the few cases where the main Interstate route is not routed through the center of a city, but around it. When the Turner Turnpike opened in 1953, US Route 66 allowed traffic to continue to downtown Tulsa. Tulsa could also be reached from the east via US Route 66, both multi-lane roads. As a result, the priority to build I-244 in the 1960s was not very high. The first section of the highway opened in eastern Tulsa about 1971. The second section, opened in 1973, was located southwest of Tulsa, a separate section with a bridge over the Arkansas River, which was not yet connected to other highways. The highway along downtown Tulsa was opened in about 1974. Then there was a short stretch in the suburb of Oakhurst, which was supposed to connect to I-44. The construction of this took a few years longer and was finally opened around 1979.
The eastern portion of I-244 between US 75 near downtown and its terminus at I-44 was completely replaced with concrete between 2012 and 2016. The highway has not been widened, the 2×4 lanes are more than sufficient for the traffic volume.
Arkansas River Bridge
Between April 2011 and September 2014, the bridges over the Arkansas River were replaced with a new double-decker bridge with room for future rail lines. Replacing the bridges cost $123 million and was completed on September 15, 2014. On December 20, 2012, the first double-deck bridge opened for traffic heading west.
|Exit 9||Exit 15||10 km||1971|
|Exit 1C||Exit 4B||3 km||1973|
|Exit 4B||Exit 9||8 km||1974|
|exit 0||Exit 1C||2 km||1979|
Every day, 21,000 vehicles from I-44 drive onto I-244 southwest of Tulsa, rising sharply to 77,000 vehicles after the interchange with US 75. Around downtown Tulsa, 68,000 to 76,000 vehicles drive per day, after which traffic volumes are 67,000 to 76,000. 69,000 vehicles east of Downtown Tulsa. The busiest point is between OK-11 and US 169 with 100,000 vehicles per day. After the interchange with US 169, this drops sharply to 36,000 vehicles per day.