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Will Rogers Turnpike I-44

Will Rogers Turnpike I-44

Location Class:
Built: 1957 | Abandoned: Late 1990s
Status: Abandoned
Photojournalist: Johnny Fletcher

The Will Rogers Turnpike runs from Tulsa, Oklahoma to the Missouri state line. It opened to traffic in June, 1957 and was designated as I-44 in 1958. It is 88 miles long and costs $4.00 to drive one way. It has a posted speed limit of 75 mph, which makes it possible to get from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Joplin, Missouri in 70 minutes.

The road is designated Interstate 44, but was built prior to the designation to Interstate standards.

The Catoosa toll booth was torn down when the mainline was changed over to the Pikepass system and the new booths were built just southwest of Vinita in the 90’s. At one time the Senate Pro Tem was from Claremore and was pushing to make the stretch from Catoosa to Claremore a free road.

The realignment was made as a part of rebuilding the OK-33/US-66/I-44 interchange in Catoosa. There were many auto accidents due to the lack of merging lanes (two I-44 westbound lanes down to one at US66 merge, then both of those down to one at the OK33 merge, etc.) These sections contained hazardous curves in both directions.

The old pavement is now used as a training ground for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, among other law enforcement agencies.
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Michael Schwarz

Starting from a young age, I’ve always loved exploring. I can remember venturing off and scoping out the houses being built in the developing neighborhood right behind my house. As I got older, I found myself appreciating the work and love that went into architecture and just being excited to pass by the beautifully designed places in downtown.

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