Southern half of new toll road announces opening in first week of 2021
By Ryan Horton
The Kickapoo Turnpike, connecting I-40 and I-44 in eastern Oklahoma County, was set to open entirely this week.
The northern 11-mile section (NE 23rd to I-44) of the new toll road opened Oct. 13, 2020, and last week signs along I-40 and NE 23rd announced the remaining section would open to the public Jan. 5.
The new eastern Oklahoma County corridor was the largest project included in the Driving Forward initiative.
The project was announced in October of 2015 with a goal of being complete in 2021, and the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority rushed to have the project operational by the first quarter of this year.
They met that goal with a first week of 2021 opening.
The southern section runs from US 62 to I-40, and connects with the northern half, connecting NE 23rd Street to I-44.
Altogether, the new turnpike is a 21-mile high-speed corridor, west of Harrah and east of Choctaw, connecting I-40 and I-44.
The road features four interchanges, between I-40 and I-44, including SE 29th Street, Reno Avenue, NE 23rd Street and Britton Road.
Those east and south running roads that do not have an interchange with the toll road run either over or under the new turnpike.
“Our number one priority has been to improve the safety and security of travelers,” Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz said. “This turnpike goes far and beyond laying concrete and installing traffic signs. It signifies a safe, convenient route to travel between Oklahoma’s two largest cities, empowering Oklahomans to thrive.”
Opening with the new 80 mph speed limit for rural turnpikes, the toll road makes a significant drive-time reduction to access Tulsa from the Oklahoma City metro area, and is also expected tohelp alleviate current congested traffic inside of Oklahoma City.
“If you need to get through central Oklahoma from a side of the state like Tulsa, there will no longer be the need for you to drive deep into Oklahoma City unless you absolutely want to,” said Gatz.
“It’s been long recognized there’s been a lack of access. We’ve needed a high-speed modern transportation facility out here on the east side of Oklahoma City.”
The cost to travel the Kickapoo Turnpike varies by axles and the use of a Pikepass.
A passenger car with a Pikepass will pay $1.90 to travel the full 21-mile stretch of the turnpike, while a tractor-trailer with a Pikepass will pay $8.55.
Cash customers will be charged 2.25 for passenger cars and $10.25 for tractor-trailers.
For more information about the Kickapoo Turnpike and other OTA projects visit www.drivingforwardok.com.