GLENPOOL, Okla. — The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will soon replace a longtime-hated traffic light on US 75 with a proper highway interchange, but some people wish the plan included more.
The interchange will be built where US 75 and 141st Street currently intersect in Glenpool.
Keith Robinson remembers the days before the light went in before commuting to and from Glenpool became a monumental task.
“When I first came down here that was a four-way stop,” Robinson said. “Now, It’ll back up two miles to 121st Street. You need to figure 15-20 minutes additional time just to be able to turn left at this light.”
But soon, that light, in the middle of a suburban freeway, and the only one on Highway 75 anywhere between Bartlesville and Okmulgee — will be replaced with a proper highway interchange.
“I can’t believe it’s actually happening,” Robinson said.
Starting around next summer, ODOT will build bridges, so Highway 75 traffic can pass over the top of 141st Street, without having to stop.
75 traffic wanting to get off at 141st will exit onto a one-way service road on each side of the highway that meets up with 141st.
At 141st, drivers can use what are called ‘Texas Turnaround’ lanes to access the service road on the opposite side if they want to access properties fronting on the opposite direction’s service road.
ODOT has used the Texas Turnaround/One-Way Service Road design in numerous interchange improvement projects. An example of a similar interchange to the one ODOT has planned for 141st can be found at the I-44 interchange with South Peoria Avenue in Tulsa.
Robinson can’t wait for the change.
“It was already a crowded intersection,” he said.
But he is worried about something.
“Some of the design criteria I don’t think is quite what it needs to be,” he said.
Right now, traffic wanting to come out of the parking lots of a group of businesses fronting Highway 75 north of 141st are able to turn directly onto Highway 75 and go north or south.
But the new design will convert 75 into a full-service freeway, with a wall in the median preventing turns across it.
That means drivers leaving those businesses wanting to go south on 75 will first have to exit the business’s parking lot onto the new northbound service road.
From there, they will take an entrance ramp onto northbound 75, and have to drive several miles north to 121st Street.
There, they can take an exit ramp, wait at a light, turn left onto 121st, drive under the highway, then make an unprotected left turn onto a southbound Highway 75 entrance ramp.
Robinson said he is worried this will deter drivers from going to those businesses.
FOX23 brought the concerns to ODOT. A spokesperson says ODOT is looking into putting in what is called a ‘J Turn’ on Highway 75 north of those businesses to fix that problem.
A J-turn, essentially, is a U-turn lane in the middle of the highway.
If one were added in this case, ODOT would build a left-exit deceleration lane for northbound 75 which would meet up with a U-turn lane in the median.
That would then connect to an acceleration lane allowing traffic to enter southbound Highway 75 on the left-hand side.
The ODOT spokesperson said future long-term plans call for Highway 75 to be widened and an interchange with Texas Turnarounds to be added at 131st Street.
But right now, for Robinson, any solution is one he’s ready to welcome.
“This has to happen,” Robinson said. “I’ll take what they’ll give us.”