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Historic I-40 Crosstown

Class: •Industrial •Commercial •Government

Location Data

Year Built:1960's
Year Abandoned: 2012
City: •Oklahoma City
Photographer:Michael Schwarz

Oklahoma’s three major interstates converge near downtown Oklahoma City where I-35 and I-44 intersect I-40 at either end of a four-mile stretch known as the Crosstown. The original Crosstown was built about five blocks north of I-40’s new alignment through downtown Oklahoma City.

Completed in 1966, the original three-lane I-40 Crosstown was designed to carry up to 76,000 vehicles daily. By 2005 when ground was broken for the new highway, it routinely carried as many as 125,000 vehicles each day.

The Crosstown was constructed using an engineering process commonly termed as “fracture critical”, a process that has not been used since the 1970s because it does not provide redundancies. According to Brian Windsor, an ODOT structural engineer, without redundant support, the failure of a single beam creates the risk of total collapse of that section of bridge. The entire stretch of the Crosstown is elevated, and at some points, the elevation is as much as 50 feet (15.2 m). In an August 2007 poll sponsored by The Oklahoman, nearly ⅔ of respondents indicated that they were “afraid to drive across the Crosstown bridge in Oklahoma City”.

The new $670 million I-40 Crosstown is designed to carry 173,000 vehicles daily on five lanes in each direction. A planned multi-lane boulevard offering a connection to downtown Oklahoma City will further increase traffic capacity in the area.

When the Old Crosstown closed, we knew we needed to capture this once grand highway and document it before it becomes just a memory. Enjoy!

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