The interchange will be reconstructed as a Single-Point Urban Interchange, also known as an SPUI, which improves traffic flow and safety while minimizing impacts to surrounding properties. This will be the fourth SPUI on the state highway system. Other locations with an SPUI design include I-40 and Morgan Road, I-35 and Main Street in Norman, and I-35 and Lindsey Street in Norman.
Additionally, just more than six miles of I-40 will be widened to six lanes between Industrial Boulevard and the I-240 interchange. Work also will address nine bridges including raising the Westminster Road bridge over I-40 to accommodate modern truck traffic, reconstruction of the Douglas Boulevard bridge, and removal of the Engle Road bridge.
"Improving bridges on this project is just another example of Oklahoma’s larger bridge story in how the state went from 49th in the nation a short 15 years ago to now No. 5 nationally for good bridge conditions," said Secretary of Transportation Tim Gatz. "All Oklahomans should be proud of that, and our senior senator has been a big part of why we've been able to achieve that ranking. That means that fewer than 1 percent of Oklahoma’s highway system bridges are structurally deficient, and there are no structurally deficient bridges remaining in this area."
Other speakers at the event also offered their gratitude for Inhofe and support for the project.
"It is impossible to truly express the importance of Sen. Inhofe to the state of Oklahoma. Since being elected in 2005, he has been a titan, especially when it comes to transportation, infrastructure, and his support for our military," said U.S. Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Edmond. "... For many years he served as Chairman and ranking member of the Environment and Public Works committee and worked to craft major pieces of transportation and infrastructure legislation that greatly benefited Oklahoma, including MAP 21 and the FAST Act.
"This interchange is right near the gates to Tinker Air Force Base, making this both a key military and economic investment. In fact, I think it's perfectly fitting that the largest dollar amount contract in Oklahoma transportation history be named after him."
Midwest City Mayor Matt Dukes also congratulated Inhofe.
"Senator, words escape me to appreciate the number of years you have served this country, state, and — of course — our community. Thanks for being here, this is a great project for our community. It's going to facilitate traffic flow, but better yet, it demonstrates the partnership with the City of Midwest City, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration," Dukes said.
Inhofe thanked the speakers and crowd for attending. "This is a huge project. It means a lot to me, and I thank you for it," Inhofe said.
The project was awarded in October to Allen Contracting Inc. and Shell Construction Co. Inc. Included in the funding is a $51 million federal INFRA grant, which was awarded in June 2021.