NORMAN — One of Norman’s primary gateways welcoming visitors into town is about to get a major facelift. Construction on the I-35 and Main Street interchange begins Monday, according to city staff reports and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
Allen Contracting will begin installing traffic control devices to adjust traffic on I-35 and on Main Street starting on Monday.
“They’ve got to barricade off safe work zones,” said Scott Sturtz, city engineer. “There will be no permanent lane closures on I-35.”
Traffic on Main Street will remain in its current configuration until the north half of the new bridge is completed.
The $35 million construction project was awarded jointly to Allen Contracting and Manhattan Road and Bridge of Oklahoma City. The project has an estimated completion date of March 2014.
“They will be working more than eight hours a day on this project. It’s an ODOT administered project,” Sturtz said. “There will be times they will be working between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. It’s written in the contract that way. They’re trying to minimize the disruptions on I-35.”
When complete, the interchange will be one of the first of its kind in the state.
The single point urban interchange or SPUI will be designed to use space more efficiently and allow for the safe movement of higher volumes of traffic within that limited space. Transportation officials report that these interchanges safely maximize the flow of traffic where streams of traffic merge or separate.
Oklahoma’s first SPUI has been completed at Interstate 40 and Morgan Road. Norman will have the second SPUI in the state.
Construction plans are designed to keep traffic disruption to a minimum during the overhaul of the interchange.
“They’re going to build half a bridge at a time over I-35,” Sturtz said.
Initially, the contractors will build half of the new structure, then they’ll put the traffic onto it. Next they will tear down the existing structure and build the other half of the new structure.