State Supreme Court Approves Oklahoma Turnpike Authority Bond Issue for Gilcrease Expressway

Nov 15, 2018

Officials look over a map of the future Gilcrease Expressway extension that will complete the highway loop in west Tulsa.
Credit Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority got the green light from the state Supreme Court to issue up to $125 million in bonds for its portion of the Gilcrease Expressway.

OTA spokesman Jack Damrill said the court’s review is common practice.

"We always take our bond sales — especially of this nature and of this amount — to the Supreme Court. We’ve done it for the entire Driving Forward program. Every time we’ve gone to the bond market, we’ve gone before the Supreme Court," Damrill said.

With $70 million in bonds from the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, current financing for the $300 million dollar project is $195 million. A federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan is the last piece of the puzzle OTA is looking for.

"We should know for sure on the TIFIA loan sometime in the spring of 2019, and that’s for about $100 million. That will help finance the portion after the construction company," Damrill said.

The contractor picked to build the four-lane, 5-mile toll road is expected to finance the rest of the project, which will connect I-44 and U.S. 412 in west Tulsa. That work will start sooner than you think.

"This project will go to bid sometime in the spring to early summer of 2019, and so this really sets everything in motion to begin the project in full force and get it under construction as quick as we can," Damrill said.

Officials believe the project, which has been in the making for decades, will alleviate congestion elsewhere in the Tulsa metro and spur development in west Tulsa.