Explained: Upcoming interstate and ramp closures - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Explained: Upcoming interstate and ramp closures

LAWTON, Okla._Drivers in Lawton will once again face several months of detours and construction cones as crews have begun to fix several overpasses and ramps on I-44.

The $5.5 million project is being funded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and over the next nine months, drivers will be diverted to several alternate routes in and around town as many ramps will close.

Right now, only exit 38 on northbound I-44, which is the Cache Road exit, and the eastbound ramp on Cache to take I-44 south are closed, and they're going to stay closed for the next eight months. They started with the Cache Road overpass because out of the four that will be updated, that one was in the worst shape. Once they start on the two tri-level bridges just to north is when folks can expect some major changes to their commute.

Heavy traffic teamed up with years of rock salt and other road treatments have left Lawton's thoroughfare bridges a little worse for wear and now the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is ready to give each overpass a serious makeover. Jerry Harwell, with ODOT, said this is strictly a bridge rehab job and

"They're getting bad to drive over, costing a lot of maintenance money keeping them up so they're passable."

The Cache Road bridge was deemed "structurally deficient" by ODOT during the preparation of the project and that's why this area became phase one. Harwell points out, "That doesn't mean it's not safe, it's just that we need to look at it and get something done before it does become unsafe."

The bridge is currently undergoing demolition and crews will later rebuild the bridge from scratch. Starting Monday, you won't be able to merge onto I-44 from Second Street because the interstate will be reduced to two lanes in order for construction on a brand new crossover to begin just north of the tri-level. The two lane highway will stay in place for five months until March when the Cache Road ramps northbound to I-44 and the rest of the westbound ramp to Cache from northbound I-44 will be closed so that tri-levels two and three can be re-paved.

It's a massive project, but one that Harwell is confident in completing on time, "We should have all of our traffic back in the original traffic patterns by the first of November. If everything goes fine, the weather cooperates and we don't find something over there we weren't expecting."

Again, starting Monday, I-44 will be down to two lanes and not only will the Cache Road exit be closed, but the ramp to merge on to I-44 from Second Street will be closed as well. Once all bridge repairs are in full swing, you'll only be able to get on I-44 via Rogers Lane, Gore or Lee boulevards.

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