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Partial opening scheduled for Kilpatrick Turnpike's Southwest Extension

Motorists  who want to go south on the new  Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City will have to wait a couple weeks. However, the new turnpike will open to northbound/westbound traffic on Thursday. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]
Motorists who want to go south on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City will have to wait a couple weeks. However, the new turnpike will open to northbound/westbound traffic on Thursday. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]

Commercial warehouses and distribution centers in southwest Oklahoma City are scheduled to get a huge boost Thursday with the partial opening of the Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike.

The 7.5-mile Southwest Extension will provide a loop through the southwest part of Oklahoma City, beginning where the John Kilpatrick Turnpike now ends at Interstate 40 in west Oklahoma City and linking up with State Highway 152, also known as Airport Road, in south Oklahoma City.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday on a section of the new turnpike just east of Morgan Road.

Initially just the westbound/northbound lanes will open, but lanes going the opposite direction are expected to open in a couple of weeks, said Joe Echelle, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority's assistant executive director for maintenance, engineering and construction. Contractors are putting finishing touches on bridge work on the eastbound/southbound lanes.

The toll for the new stretch of turnpike will be 75 cents, said Jack Damrill, communications director for the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Motorists will need to either have exact change or a Pikepass because there will be no change machines or toll attendants to accept cash, he said.

The extension took about two years to build at a cost of about $235 million, including the costs of right-of-way acquisition, engineering and construction, Echelle said.

While the extension was being built, the Turnpike Authority spent an additional $66 million replacing bridges on the existing Kilpatrick Turnpike north of I-40 to smooth out rolling bumps in the concrete that have been a source of irritation to motorists, Damrill said.

"In that area, we expanded it to six lanes, or are in the process of doing it," he said.

Tim Gatz, executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, said state transportation officials will be glad to see the four-lane Southwest Extension open.

"We're really excited about having that new transportation connector out there," he said. "It's an important part of a reliever route system around metropolitan Oklahoma City."

Echelle said Hobby Lobby, Amazon, Associated Wholesale Grocers and other businesses that have large warehouses and distribution centers in the area are especially excited about the new stretch of turnpike that will be opening.

Hobby Lobby will be the biggest beneficiary, Damrill said.

"Their warehouse is right where the Kilpatrick will end at State Highway 152," he said, adding that Hobby Lobby representatives have told turnpike officials they intend to use the new turnpike extensively for truck shipments going west, north and northeast.

Use of the new turnpike by Hobby Lobby and other motorists should relieve some of the traffic congestion on interstates in and around Oklahoma City, he said.

The Southwest Extension was completed about a year ahead of schedule, he said.

There are always some motorists who don't like toll roads, he said, but the costs would have been prohibitive for the state to build the Southwest Extension as a free road.

Meanwhile, in the eastern part of the metro area, work continues on the new 21-mile Kickapoo Turnpike. Initially known as the Northeast Oklahoma County Loop, the toll road will link I-40 with the Turner Turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County. Damrill said some of that turnpike could open in mid- to late summer, with the rest of it opening up early next year.

Related Photos
<strong>[Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman graphics]</strong>

[Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman graphics]

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-38490e534de9dadd22b273924332da27.jpg" alt="Photo - [Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman graphics] " title=" [Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman graphics] "><figcaption> [Todd Pendleton/The Oklahoman graphics] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-9983370462186beb54714ede3bb30fe4.jpg" alt="Photo - The southwest extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The new extension of the turnpike is scheduled for partial opening on Thursday, giving a boost to southwest Oklahoma City's fast-growing warehouse and distribution center district. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]" title="The southwest extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The new extension of the turnpike is scheduled for partial opening on Thursday, giving a boost to southwest Oklahoma City's fast-growing warehouse and distribution center district. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]"><figcaption>The southwest extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. The new extension of the turnpike is scheduled for partial opening on Thursday, giving a boost to southwest Oklahoma City's fast-growing warehouse and distribution center district. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman]</figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-3c2cd9b0a1f06aee140fee768d5a0b8b.jpg" alt="Photo - Motorists who want to go south on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City will have to wait a couple weeks. However, the new turnpike will open to northbound/westbound traffic on Thursday. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Motorists who want to go south on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City will have to wait a couple weeks. However, the new turnpike will open to northbound/westbound traffic on Thursday. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Motorists who want to go south on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City will have to wait a couple weeks. However, the new turnpike will open to northbound/westbound traffic on Thursday. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-d1e9099c98b4448a16946c3573765634.jpg" alt="Photo - Signs are in place on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Signs are in place on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Signs are in place on the new Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-a8ab3f94f7bb8067beb4fb0d3e100da3.jpg" alt="Photo - The Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City is nearly complete and ready for a partial opening on Thursday, [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" The Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City is nearly complete and ready for a partial opening on Thursday, [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> The Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City is nearly complete and ready for a partial opening on Thursday, [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure><figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-fa8c5760a819025dbd6e709c980c90a3.jpg" alt="Photo - Safety cables are in place to prevent crossover accidents on the Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] " title=" Safety cables are in place to prevent crossover accidents on the Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] "><figcaption> Safety cables are in place to prevent crossover accidents on the Southwest Extension of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike. [Chris Landsberger/The Oklahoman] </figcaption></figure>
Randy Ellis

For the past 30 years, staff writer Randy Ellis has exposed public corruption and government mismanagement in news articles. Ellis has investigated problems in Oklahoma's higher education institutions and wrote stories that ultimately led to two... Read more ›

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