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Author Topic: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways  (Read 749 times)

bugo

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Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« on: January 10, 2019, 09:18:44 AM »

Several stretches of Oklahoma interstate were originally built as expressways with at-grade intersections. What is now I-44 through Tulsa, OKC and Lawton had at-grades up into the 1980s. Did any parts of I-35 predate the Interstate system and once had at-grades? Was what is now I-35 from Shields Blvd to Flood Avenue originally built as a US 77 expressway? Did it have at-grades? What about I-40? Parts of I-40 west of OKC were built as US 66 bypasses. Were any of these bypasses at-grade expressways? Did any stretch of I-240 have at-grades at one time?
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edwaleni

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2019, 11:22:57 AM »

Several stretches of Oklahoma interstate were originally built as expressways with at-grade intersections. What is now I-44 through Tulsa, OKC and Lawton had at-grades up into the 1980s. Did any parts of I-35 predate the Interstate system and once had at-grades? Was what is now I-35 from Shields Blvd to Flood Avenue originally built as a US 77 expressway? Did it have at-grades? What about I-40? Parts of I-40 west of OKC were built as US 66 bypasses. Were any of these bypasses at-grade expressways? Did any stretch of I-240 have at-grades at one time?

I looked at the 1955 OK Highway Map and I cannot tell if/where these at grade intersections took place.

Rand-McNally and later Nashua and other map makers resorted to placing a white box where a controlled intersection was located signifying exit ramps.

I looked specifically at your Shields to Flood scenario and it appears I-35 only overlapped it through Moore.  It appears the OK-37 exit ramp was once an at grade intersection due to the little jog OK-37 takes when it crosses over I-35 today.  On the 1955 map, I just see the US-77 expressway.

When our family drove US-66 from St Louis to Flagstaff AZ in 1968, we ran into several intervals where I-44 and I-40 would suddenly "end" and we had a traffic light for an at grade intersection.  When we drove it again in 1970, many of those intervals were gone due to more completion of the Interstate Highway System. Maps back then struggled to keep up.  I remember my father stopping at a gas station in Claremore to get a more up to date state highway map due to the constant updates on US-66.
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bugo

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2019, 12:37:31 PM »

When our family drove US-66 from St Louis to Flagstaff AZ in 1968, we ran into several intervals where I-44 and I-40 would suddenly "end" and we had a traffic light for an at grade intersection.  When we drove it again in 1970, many of those intervals were gone due to more completion of the Interstate Highway System. Maps back then struggled to keep up.  I remember my father stopping at a gas station in Claremore to get a more up to date state highway map due to the constant updates on US-66.

I bet the 1960s were an exciting time to be a road enthusiast. Interstates were being built rapidly and many new sections opened each year. I often daydream about living in that era. I wasn't born until '73 so I missed out on most of the rapid construction of the interstate system.
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Henry

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2019, 02:40:21 PM »

When our family drove US-66 from St Louis to Flagstaff AZ in 1968, we ran into several intervals where I-44 and I-40 would suddenly "end" and we had a traffic light for an at grade intersection.  When we drove it again in 1970, many of those intervals were gone due to more completion of the Interstate Highway System. Maps back then struggled to keep up.  I remember my father stopping at a gas station in Claremore to get a more up to date state highway map due to the constant updates on US-66.

I bet the 1960s were an exciting time to be a road enthusiast. Interstates were being built rapidly and many new sections opened each year. I often daydream about living in that era. I wasn't born until '73 so I missed out on most of the rapid construction of the interstate system.
I was born in 1970, and about half of the Interstates were already completed back then. As for the at-grade expressways that eventually became part of the system, I know for sure that those were not limited to just OK or any states that US 66 served at the time, because they were built on top of the existing US routes in rural areas just about everywhere else in the West. Man, what fun it would've been to just look at those 1960s maps and daydream about an ambitious highway network...
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rte66man

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2019, 05:17:20 PM »

Several stretches of Oklahoma interstate were originally built as expressways with at-grade intersections. What is now I-44 through Tulsa, OKC and Lawton had at-grades up into the 1980s. Did any parts of I-35 predate the Interstate system and once had at-grades? Was what is now I-35 from Shields Blvd to Flood Avenue originally built as a US 77 expressway? Did it have at-grades? What about I-40? Parts of I-40 west of OKC were built as US 66 bypasses. Were any of these bypasses at-grade expressways? Did any stretch of I-240 have at-grades at one time?

Yes. What is now I35 from the I44 junction north to 2nd St in Edmond was built in the early 50's to correspond with the opening of the Turner Turnpike in 1953.  I well remember how my Dad used to "white knuckle" much of that as the trucks coming in and out of the numerous truck stops made for some hairy drives.  That stretch was upgraded in the late 70's into it's current configuration.

As far as I35 south goes, it was never at-grade.  It was opened from Purcell north to OKC about 1962 as a new alignment.

The stretch of I240 from the junction with I44 east to I35 was built in 1964 to tie into what was then US62 south to the new HE Bailey turnpike. Neither stretch were ever at-grade (although US62 was 2 lanes for about a year).

As for I40, I would refer you to Oklahoma Route 66 by Jim Ross (https://smile.amazon.com/Oklahoma-Route-66-Jim-Ross/dp/0967748178/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1547244976&sr=8-6&keywords=jim+ross+route+66.  It would be too much to try to detail here which stretches from OKC west to Texas were at-grade
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Road Hog

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2019, 06:09:50 PM »

I have to call BS on the I-44 through Lawton part. I happened upon that in 1989 and there was no freaking way that was newish construction. It made 75 through Sherman, TX look like state of the art.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2019, 10:58:03 PM »

My dad's family is from Southwest Oklahoma and I have frequently visited the Lawton area on and off from the early 1970's through the early 1990's when I eventually moved here. I can remember when I was a kid that what would eventually become I-44 was not a full freeway. Just South of the Cache Road interchange the railroad crossing was a signaled at-grade crossing. I remember that one from the late 1970's.

Now, what locals call the "tri-level" at what is now Cache Road and I-44 was there back then. That's really old (and outdated) bridge construction design. But the bridges South of the interchange spanning over the railroad tracks are newer (build around or just before 1980, if I recall correctly).
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rte66man

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2019, 07:50:04 PM »

I have to call BS on the I-44 through Lawton part. I happened upon that in 1989 and there was no freaking way that was newish construction. It made 75 through Sherman, TX look like state of the art.

Who said it wasn't at-grade?
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rte66man

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2019, 08:00:21 PM »

My dad's family is from Southwest Oklahoma and I have frequently visited the Lawton area on and off from the early 1970's through the early 1990's when I eventually moved here. I can remember when I was a kid that what would eventually become I-44 was not a full freeway. Just South of the Cache Road interchange the railroad crossing was a signaled at-grade crossing. I remember that one from the late 1970's.

Now, what locals call the "tri-level" at what is now Cache Road and I-44 was there back then. That's really old (and outdated) bridge construction design. But the bridges South of the interchange spanning over the railroad tracks are newer (build around or just before 1980, if I recall correctly).


They were built in 1963/64 as a part of the HE Bailey connection.  US277 used to go straight south from the Cache Road tri-level along Fort Sill Blvd.  I'll post some old aerials as soon as I can dig them out.
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Bobby5280

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2019, 01:51:58 PM »

The part of former US-277 that went straight south from the interchange is still there. That's just 2nd Street. The portion of the highway that had the at-grade railroad crossing was on the current I-44 alignment. I can remember the highway going NW across those tracks before curving more North at it reached Cache Road.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2019, 11:03:10 AM by Bobby5280 »
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rte66man

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2019, 06:03:32 AM »

The part of former US-277 that went straight south from the interchange is still there. That's just 2nd Street. The portion of the highway that had the at-grade railroad crossing was on the current I-44 alignment. I can remember the highway going NW across those tracks before curing more North at it reached Cache Road.

I misspoke. Got my Fort SIll Blvd mixed up with 2nd St.
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In_Correct

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2019, 09:18:53 AM »

The part of former US-277 that went straight south from the interchange is still there. That's just 2nd Street. The portion of the highway that had the at-grade railroad crossing was on the current I-44 alignment. I can remember the highway going NW across those tracks before curing more North at it reached Cache Road.

I misspoke. Got my Fort SIll Blvd mixed up with 2nd St.

There is a tunnel on 2nd street. Did it used to be an at grade crossing also?
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Bobby5280

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2019, 11:13:08 AM »

Tunnel? There isn't any tunnel on 2nd street. There is a railroad bridge over 2nd Street on the South side of Central Mall. The street dips down under the railroad tracks (and, consequently, floods whenever there is any heavy rain). That railroad bridge crossing has been there as far back as I can remember. It dates back to at least the early 1970's. But the bridge's styling looks a little contemporary. It may have been an at-grade railroad crossing before downtown Lawton was altered and "cleaned up." I don't know. Central Mall erased a pretty big chunk of the old downtown area (12 city blocks) as part of an urban renewal project. Indoor malls were a brand new thing then; one of the first indoor malls was built nearby in Fort Worth. Three blocks worth of the previous US-277/US-281 alignment were erased by the mall.
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kphoger

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2019, 01:54:24 PM »

It dates back to at least the early 1970's.

Yep.  The 1970 aerial shows the bridge already there.
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In_Correct

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2019, 02:14:12 PM »

It dates back to at least the early 1970's.

Yep.  The 1970 aerial shows the bridge already there.

It also shows that Interstate 44 had bridges over the rail roads also in 1970.
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seicer

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #15 on: January 14, 2019, 02:25:49 PM »

There were several at-grades along I-44 north of Exit 39, confirmed with Historic Aerials. They were removed with the construction of the frontage road to the west of I-44. There were also some driveways for businesses by Fort Sill which were removed with the reconstruction of Exit 40. And an at-grade railroad crossing just north of Exit 40.
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seicer

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2019, 10:28:15 AM »

The rail crossing was at https://goo.gl/maps/cMKJ9Zo25fq

I forgot to include a link to Historic Aerials, but it's at https://www.historicaerials.com/location/34.64461259658542/-98.38849067687988/1970/16
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edwaleni

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2019, 11:22:14 AM »

When our family drove US-66 from St Louis to Flagstaff AZ in 1968, we ran into several intervals where I-44 and I-40 would suddenly "end" and we had a traffic light for an at grade intersection.  When we drove it again in 1970, many of those intervals were gone due to more completion of the Interstate Highway System. Maps back then struggled to keep up.  I remember my father stopping at a gas station in Claremore to get a more up to date state highway map due to the constant updates on US-66.

I bet the 1960s were an exciting time to be a road enthusiast. Interstates were being built rapidly and many new sections opened each year. I often daydream about living in that era. I wasn't born until '73 so I missed out on most of the rapid construction of the interstate system.
I was born in 1970, and about half of the Interstates were already completed back then. As for the at-grade expressways that eventually became part of the system, I know for sure that those were not limited to just OK or any states that US 66 served at the time, because they were built on top of the existing US routes in rural areas just about everywhere else in the West. Man, what fun it would've been to just look at those 1960s maps and daydream about an ambitious highway network...

Not to stray to far off the topic, but I remember many times driving US-40 between Effingham, Illinois and St Louis, MO in the late 60's.  Constant slowing, moving over, being on Interstate ROW that was just poured and then back over to US 40 for an interval. The Rand McNally maps all showed the dashed line saying "Est. Completion Fall 1968". After that I got into a habit of spending my allowance on a new atlas every year when they came out so i could see what roads had finished.

One of the last at-grade intersections of US-66 in Illinois was in McLean Illinois right in front of the Dixie Truck Stop. Because many parts of US-66 divided highway dated back to the early 1950's, IDOT took their time taking out the at grade intersections.

I do remember I-40 "ending" at El Reno and it was pretty spotty going west to Amarillo.
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In_Correct

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #19 on: January 15, 2019, 01:49:22 PM »

The rail crossing was at https://goo.gl/maps/cMKJ9Zo25fq

I forgot to include a link to Historic Aerials, but it's at https://www.historicaerials.com/location/34.64461259658542/-98.38849067687988/1970/16

I finally found them.

I was confused be cause they converted an intersection (Rogers Lane) to a grade separated exit with frontage roads, and in the 21st century they removed the old Post Road grade separated exit. Post Road now goes under the exit ramp and intersects with Rogers Lane.

There was an at grade crossing with what looks like a Rail Spur immediately north of the Post Road exit. I guess they removed it a long time ago.
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Rick1962

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #20 on: January 15, 2019, 07:05:13 PM »

Photo of I-35 in OKC from 1970. It was like this until the mid-'80s.

SM-T580

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rte66man

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2019, 09:03:07 PM »

Photo of I-35 in OKC from 1970. It was like this until the mid-'80s.

SM-T580



Where did you find this? Nice find.  There is some debate as to whether it truly was I35 in this stretch.

Also note they had pavement problems back then too.......
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edwaleni

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2019, 10:23:22 PM »

OKC map in 1970.

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Rick1962

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2019, 10:46:20 PM »

Quote

Where did you find this? Nice find.  There is some debate as to whether it truly was I35 in this stretch.


Found it on a Route 66 FB group. I seem to remember this stretch posted as "To I-35" until around 1980. Also, the crossovers were blocked off with concrete parking lot bumpers by the late '70s.

SM-T580

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edwaleni

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Re: Oklahoma interstates that were built as at-grade expressways
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2019, 08:32:22 AM »

Pictured here are what were the remaining incomplete Interstate mileage in Oklahoma in 1970.









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