History of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma

Most of Interstate 44 runs on turnpikes that were built before it was designated I-44. The Turner Turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa was approved in 1947 and opened to traffic on May 16, 1953, the oldest turnpike in the state of Oklahoma. The Will Rogers Turnpike between Tulsa and the Missouri border is slightly younger and opened to traffic on June 28, 1957. In 1958, the number I-44 was assigned to the Turner and Will Rogers Turnpikes. Even younger is the HE Bailey Turnpike between Oklahoma City and the Texas border. It opened to traffic on April 23, 1964, but I-44 was not assigned to it until 1987, leaving I-44 in Oklahoma City between 1958 and 1987.

  • EHUACOM: Provides city overview of capital of Oklahoma, including general information about the state Oklahoma.

So in Oklahoma City, I-44 began on the east side of the city, at the western end of the Turner Turnpike. The part through the city was then part of Interstate 240, which today only runs on the south side of the city. I-240 formed a three-quarter ring around Oklahoma City, with a missing section on the east side of the city. This highway was mainly constructed in the mid 1970s. In the 1980s, the number I-44 was assigned to the HE Bailey Turnpike and therefore also to the route through Oklahoma City. In about 1983, the Lawton bypass was also given highway status, as did the southernmost section near the Texas border.

Interstate 44 was planned in the 1960s and 1970s as I-440 through Oklahoma City between I-35 and I-40 and south of I-40 to the airport, also numbered I-240. There were also plans in the 1970s for a ring road around Oklahoma City, which is now the Kilpatrick Turnpike, but extended further south to the HE Bailey Turnpike. It is unknown if it was planned to have I-44 run over this, so further outside of Oklahoma City.

  • existingcountries: state overview of Oklahoma, including geography, history and major cities.

Widening in Tulsa

Between 2010 and 2014, I-44 through Tulsa was widened to 2×3 lanes between Riverside Drive and the Broken Arrow Expressway. On September 28, 2011, the section between Harvard Avenue and the Broken Arrow Expressway was completed by 2×3 lanes. In 2012, the section between Riverside Drive and Peoria Avenue was completed. In March 2014, the additional lanes opened between Peoria Avenue and Harvard Avenue. In 2019-2020, the section between I-244 and Catoosa east of Tulsa has been widened from 2×2 to 2×4 lanes. In 2021-2022, 6 miles of I-44 southwest of Tulsa will be widened from 2×2 to 2×3 lanes between the Creek Turnpike and OK-66.

Widening Turner Turnpike

Work began in 2017 to widen the Turner Turnpike 35 miles west from Tulsa to 2×3 lanes. On November 16, 2018, the widening of the first 13 kilometers between Bristow and Tulsa was completed.

Opening history

Van Unpleasant Length Opening
Exit 125 Exit 215 145 km 16-05-1953
Exit 242 Exit 313 114 km 28-06-1957
Exit 215 Exit 229 23 km 00-00-1957
Exit 229 Exit 232 5 km 00-00-1958
Exit 232 Exit 242 16 km 00-00-1959
Exit 40 Exit 107 108 km 01-03-1964
Exit 5 Exit 30 40 km 23-04-1964
Exit 107 Exit 114 11 km 00-00-1966
Exit 123 Exit 125 3 km 00-00-1973
Exit 121 Exit 123 3 km 00-00-1975
Exit 120 Exit 121 2 km 00-00-1976
Exit 114 Exit 120 10 km 00-00-1977
Exit 0 Exit 5 8 km 00-00-1983
Exit 30 Exit 40 16 km 00-00-1983

Traffic intensities

Every day, 14,000 vehicles cross the Texas border, dropping to 7,000 vehicles on the southern portion of the HE Bailey Turnpike, but rising to some 30,000 vehicles in Lawton. Between Lawton and Oklahoma City, 12,000 to 20,000 vehicles drive on the HE Bailey Turnpike. In Oklahoma City’s southern boroughs, 44,000 vehicles a day, rising to 69,000 vehicles south of the I-240 interchange and up to 139,000 vehicles past Oklahoma City’s airport. This drops slightly to 134,000 vehicles as far as I-40 and 151,000 to 165,000 vehicles per day between I-40 and OK-74, the busiest stretch of highway in Oklahoma.

On the east-west section through northern Oklahoma City, 94,000 to 101,000 vehicles travel to I-235 and 53,000 vehicles continue to the southern interchange with I-35. The double numbering with I-35 has 87,000 vehicles per day. The Turner Turnpike between Oklahoma City and Tulsa has 27,000 to 30,000 vehicles per day.

In Tulsa, 54,000 vehicles drive between the Creek Turnpike and I-244 in the southwestern suburbs. After that, 53,000 vehicles cross the Arkansas River, after which the busiest section through Tulsa processes between 70,000 and 95,000 vehicles per day. This drops to 51,000 vehicles between US 169 and I-244 and then briefly peaks at 75,000 vehicles per day between I-244 and the Creek Turnpike. The Will Rogers Turnpike has 17,000 to 21,000 vehicles per day.


The Turner Turnpike at Luther.

Interstate 44 consists of three toll roads, with a total of four toll segments.

  • Bailey Turnpike between Randlett and Lawton and from Lawton to Oklahoma City
  • Turner Turnpike tussen Oklahoma City en Tulsa
  • Will Rogers Turnpike between Tulsa and the Missouri border.

Bailey Turnpike

The Bailey Turnpike consists of two segments. The section through the town of Lawton between Exit 30 and Exit 46 is toll-free.

Turner Turnpike

The Turner Turnpike forms a route of 138 kilometers. The Turner Turnpike is one of the cheapest toll roads in the United States.

The Turner Turnpike has an unusual toll system, with only a toll booth at Stroud. There are also toll stations at the entrances and exits, and if you turn off before Stroud you simply pay the toll fee, but if you turn after Stroud, but do not drive the full length, you will get a part of the toll back, pro rata to the driven distance. For example, if you drive from Tulsa to Chandler, you will have to pay the full amount at the toll booth at Stroud, but get a part back at Stroud because you haven’t driven the entire distance to Oklahoma City.

Will Rogers Turnpike

De Will Rogers Turnpike is 142 kilometer lang.

Lane Configuration

Van Unpleasant Lanes Comments
Exit 0 Exit 115 2×2
Exit 115 Exit 120 2×3 Oklahoma City
Exit 120 Exit 123 2×4 Oklahoma City
Exit 123 Exit 138 2×3 Oklahoma City
Exit 138 Exit 196 2×2
Exit 196 Exit 218 2×3
Exit 218 Exit 224 2×2
Exit 224 Exit 236 2×3 Tulsa
Exit 236 Exit 313 2×2

History of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma

History of Interstate 44 in Oklahoma
4.5 (90%) 2 votes

You may also like...