The Oklahoma Transportation Commission on Monday authorized the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to negotiate a financing agreement with the federal government for part of the Gilcrease Expressway.
"This will allow us to go ahead and secure the last piece of the financing that’s going to be necessary to move the Gilcrease project forward to construction and then have a payment agreement with the turnpike authority to facilitate the payment," said ODOT Director Tim Gatz.
The federal line of credit will likely be used to secure up to $100 million in private funding for the roughly $330 million project. Financing plans have always had state, local and private funding in the mix.
Gatz said the 5-mile toll road includes 22 bridges and is an ambitious project.
"It’s challenging construction, to say the least. It’ll take almost 900 days to complete the construction, and we hope to get started here about Feb. 1 if everything falls into place correctly," Gatz said.
Plans for a Gilcrease Expressway loop date back to the 1950s. Officials think it will change things for the region.
"This segment and this connection across the Arkansas River on the west side of Tulsa is really going to overcome that natural barrier that the Arkansas River has been and really open up things on that side for transportation and circulation patterns," Gatz said.