ELGIN The news is all good for motorists who use the Elgin interchange on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.
The battle to enter and exit will be over by next week, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority promises.
Jack Damrill, spokesman for the authority, said the project which was supposed to be completed in 120 days but has stretched 153 days beyond that should be finished in a few days.
"The project started July 9 and was supposed to be completed by Nov. 6," Damrill said.
The delays were caused by design issues and weather, including the drought, he said.
"This was the perfect storm for us but an imperfect storm for the customer," Damrill said.
He said the interchange has one of the highest traffic counts in this area.
"It went from approximately 100 vehicles a day 10 years ago to 3,200 now," he said.
The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority looked at three different options to add an extra lane on both sides in order to handle the additional traffic. One lane is dedicated for only Pikepass users; the other will be used by cash customers.
Damrill said the first option the authority considered was building two new ramps alongside each existing ramp, which would minimize the effect on traffic but would entail purchasing additional right of way.
"This was rejected because it would not be money well spent," he said.
The second option was to shut down the ramps during construction, "but this just was not feasible."
This was why the authority chose the third option, building the additional ramps parallel to the existing ones.
That option presented its own problems, including difficulty exiting onto U.S. 277 from Interstate 44 because traffic on the four-lane highway was narrowed to two lanes to accommodate construction. It also created a limited merge lane going from the interchange to southbound on I-44.