|City/Town: • Catoosa|
|Location Class: • Government|
|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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I worked for the Traffic Control Company that implemented the realignment. There were several large contractors involved in constructing the new bridges and the new Creek Turnpike extension. I was on site when a labor fell to his death. You can see the old closed section clearly from the pine street bridge. It is weird seeing that stretch of highway void of traffic. There were large sections of pre-fabbed concrete pipe stored on the old road too. I think either ODOT ot OTA were storing those for another project.
I see on current satellite imagery that the Pine Street bridge has been demolished, and Pine Street itself has been realigned to the north with fill, thereby cutting the the old strip of I-44 in two.
Yes that is true. I live near here and they built a new road on fill to eliminate the one lane bridge that was there. It is a lot more clean and inviting now though.
If possible we will never travel through Oklahoma on 44 again. We went to Springfield,MO via 44 tollway and the back from Joplin, MO to Wichita Falls, TX using the turnpike. After spending over $50 on tolls (we had anRV and a tow vehicle), we swear all our fillings in or teeth are lose now!!!what a horrible road!!! What the Hell do you people do with the toll money collected?? You certainly aren't maintaining the highway!! Awful, awful. Nope. No way. We will go arou d your state next time.
I almost died on that turnpike! 1987
I had flew down the road with my drone and posted the footage to youtube.
Am I able to walk the highway, or access restricted?
It costs $1,200
I like driving on 44 from joplin to tulsa thats a nice stretch of road
What year was this section of I 44 abandoned?
How much does it cost to drive the entire lenght of the Will Rogers ?
what is the speed limit for a turnpike in oklahoma
nice shots and interesting history of the site
I am not really fantastic with English but I come up this very easygoing to interpret.