Construction of the Creek Turnpike around Tulsa, Oklahoma between March 1999 and August 2002 included a realignment of Interstate 44 from Skelly Drive to the Will Rogers Turnpike.1 The new roadway bypassed the section of I-44 angling northeast from Skelly Drive to the split with Oklahoma 66, and the transition to the Will Rogers Turnpike. It was considered to be one of the most dangerous stretches of road in the Tulsa area at the time,2 with a weaving traffic pattern adding motorists from the 193rd East Avenue on-ramp just ahead of the eastbound I-44 split with U.S. 412 and the adjacent left-hand ramp to Oklahoma 66 into Catoosa.
The original interchange layout between I-44, U.S. 412, SH 66 and the Will Rogers Turnpike.
I-44 now travels north on the Creek Turnpike from U.S. 412 to the Will Rogers Turnpike west of 225th East Avenue. The old roadway was left in place both north and south of Pine Street.
Interstate 44 was extended east along U.S. 412 to the new Creek Turnpike in July 2002.3 It turned north from U.S. 412 to join the realigned west end of the Will Rogers Turnpike. The former alignment was subsequently abandoned beyond the split with Oklahoma 66 while the old ramp system for Historic U.S. 66 was retained as the local exit from I-44 to Catoosa.
Unless otherwise noted, all photos below taken November 2, 2016.
Interstate 44 and Oklahoma 66 east at the original split with U.S. 412 east. Photo taken by Rick Mattioni (11/09/00).
The old mainline of I-44 east from Skelly Drive to the Will Rogers Turnpike was repurposed into an exit ramp for the departing Oklahoma 66 east to Catoosa.
The old right-hand lane of I-44 was restriped into a wide shoulder once it became the off-ramp for Oklahoma 66 east.
Oklahoma 66 east shifts onto the original Exit 241 ramp from I-44 east. A sign bridge remains from the former continuation of I-44 east onto the Will Rogers Turnpike here.
Traffic from I-44 & U.S. 412 west form a second lane for the Oklahoma 66 continuation through Catoosa. Grading remains from the old carriageway of I-44 east beyond the pylons here.
SH 66 still uses an overpass over what was the westbound roadway for I-44. Overhead light fixtures remain above the abandoned freeway in the distance.
Pine Street previously spanned the Will Rogers Turnpike. With the toll road no longer used, the overpass was demolished and Pine Street lowered to grade level. A stub remains from the former bridge here eastbound.
The four-lane toll road remains in tact south from Pine Street as it crosses Spunky Creek. A guide sign appears on the horizon at the original off-ramp for SH 66.
Looking north from Pine Street as the abandoned roadway for I-44.
Cars last rolled across the westbound lanes of I-44 here 14 years ago.
A second sign for SH 66 remains in tact along the abandoned Will Rogers Turnpike westbound.
Interstate 44 overtakes the original alignment of the Will Rogers Turnpike a short distance to the east. Visible in the distances is the 225th East Avenue overpass above the toll road.
Oklahoma 66 merged with Interstate 44 at a wye interchange just ahead of U.S. 412 and Skelly Drive west. Grading remains from the original Will Rogers Turnpike westbound mainline.
A weaving traffic pattern was also in place from the I-44 and SH 66 westbound merge to the adjacent 193rd East Avenue off-ramp. An old sign is still in place for the subsequent lane drop.
Interstate 44 veers south from the original Will Rogers Turnpike alignment to join the Creek Turnpike ahead of the Pine Street off-ramp (Exit 35). Photo taken 05/04/12.
- "Turnpike final leg to open." Tulsa World (OK), August 13, 2002.
- "Creek 'pike no cure-all for Tulsa traffic woes." Tulsa World (OK), January 21, 2003.
- "Pike-bound lanes revised." Tulsa World (OK), July 11, 2002.