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Construction Begins Monday To Widen Interstate 35, Replace Lindsey Street Bridge In Norman

At its Monday, Dec. 8 meeting, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission approved a contract for reconstruction the I-35 interchanges at SH-9 East and Lindsey St. in Norman, pictured here looking south.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation
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The Interstate 35 interchanges at SH-9 East and Lindsey St. in Norman, pictured here looking south.

Construction starts Monday on a $71 million project to widen Interstate 35 through Norman to six lanes.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation estimates the project should be completed in about two years, with about $2 million in financial incentives to finish early.

I-35_SH-9E_Lindsey_St._Norman-With_Street_Names-_for_web.jpg
Credit Oklahoma Department of Transportation
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Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Along with widening the interstate, the Lindsey Street bridge will be reconstructed and drainage problems in the area will be addressed.

Ed Noble Parkway will also be extended, with on-ramps connecting it to State Highway 9. 

State engineer Lucas Reed told The Oklahoman driers shouldn't notice any traffic issues or delays at first.

“We will begin on Monday moving in equipment and moving dirt around, then installing a barrier wall,” state Transportation Department engineer Lucas Reed said. In about a week, residents and I-35 motorists will begin to see some effect of the construction, with temporary closings and lane merges in their future, he said. Reed was one of several transportation officials who updated Norman residents on the project at a public information meeting Thursday night at Sooner Legends.

Tulsa-based Sherwood Construction Company has been contracted to complete the project, which is one of the largest ever awarded in ODOT's history.

Some business owners are worried that construction will negatively their businesses.

Kathy Green, owner of Corkscrew Liquor at Lindsey and 24th Avenue SW, said it’s a no-win situation for her. Access to her business will be affected throughout the project, she said, “and after it’s completed, I will lose access to my business from Lindsey Street.” She estimates she will lose a minimum of 25 percent of her customer base for the duration of the project, “and that’s money I can never get back.” Some customers will never return, she added, “because in the interim they will find a new home store.”

The City of Norman has put together what it calls a "survival guide" for businesses along Lindsey Street impacted by the construction.

ODOT says two lanes of north and southbound Interstate 35 will remain open throughout the project, but congestion and delays are likely, especially during the morning and evening rush hour.

The Norman Transcript reports the Lindsey Street improvements should fix significant flood that typically occurs at the intersection with McGee Ave.

Attempts at a solutions to the flooding at McGee and Lindsey often just made problems worse in other places. “I wanted to correct that and do it the right way,” [City Council member Tom] Kovach said. Kovach believes the proposed engineering solutions will finally eliminate Lake McGee once construction is complete. Tying the drainage solution in with the Lindsey widening makes sense and allows that pavement to only be torn up once and those residents and businesses to only be disrupted once.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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