The new Kicakpoo Turnpike is slated to open on Tuesday morning at 11:00 AM in a virtual ribbon cutting. Governor Stitt will be the first to officially christen the new roadway. The 11.5 mile stretch of roadway will have a partial opening, from the Turner Turnpike in Luther to NE 23rd Street in Choctaw. The remaining section of the turnpike will open in early 2021, extending the roadway to a half mile south of I-40. In total the new turnpike will be over 21 miles of high speed access that has been unprecedented in Eastern Oklahoma County.
Once fully completed, the Kickapoo Turnpike will have seven (7) access points to two (2) major and five (5) intermediate roadways. Entrances will be located at the Turner Turnpike, Britton Road, N.E. 23rd Street, Reno Avenue, S.E. 29th Street, I-40, and will end at a stop sign at S.E. 89th Street. The speed limit, set at 80 mph, will allow travelers to go from I-40 to I-44 in under 20 minutes. With the partial opening, only entrances at the Turner Turnpike, Britton Road, and 23rd Street will be available for use this week. The total cost of this project is $453 million.
Speaking with Jim Gatz, Secretary of Transportation, on Friday morning, he was very enthusiastic about the project. “We are really excited about the new access it will provide with the Kickapoo Turnpike.” He is anticipating a huge impact for the communities in Eastern Oklahoma County, giving them a new level of access that has never existed in this region.
The Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Authority are working closely with Oklahoma County and local municipalities to repair roadways impacted by the construction. Already, they have reconstructed 7 miles of county roads and city street systems during the construction of the turnpike. The County Commissioners are the primary transportation partners on this project, and they will continue to work closely with the Department of Transportation to finish the project and make road repairs.
This new access should bring tremendous growth to the Jones community. Exit 144 will become a conduit for new construction and development in our area. Already with three new neighborhoods coming into town and the passage of the 2019 School Bond election, we are already seeing signs of this happening. The opening of the new Kickapoo Turnpike will give Jones ideal access to both major population centers in the State. With Downtown OKC already only 25 minutes away, the new Kickapoo Turnpike will set Jones only 1 hour and 23 minutes away from Downtown Tulsa.
Our hope is that this growth would be steady and healthy, giving a generous boost to both local sales tax for the town and ad valorem revenue for our local school district. Out in Eastern Oklahoma County, zip code, school district, and municipal boundaries all overlap in a confusing array, it’s hard to identify which entities actually benefit from new development. Annexation may be necessary in the future to ensure that tax dollars collected in these currently unincorporated areas along the Kickapoo Turnpike would actually benefit the town we all call home.