According to Beautyphoon, the Gilcrease Expressway is an expressway / freeway in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The highway forms a partial ring road around Tulsa, with stretches on the west and north sides of the city in use. The western portion is numbered State Route 344, the northern portion is partially State Route 11.
The Gilcrease Expressway begins in eastern Tulsa at an interchange with Interstate 244 and initially heads north to Tulsa International Airport. The Gilcrease Expressway is the main access point to the airport. The highway bends to the west here and has 2×2 lanes everywhere. North of Downtown Tulsa, it crosses US 75 through an interchange that has left-hand in and outs. The highway then continues for 4 kilometers and ends at an intersection with Tisdale Parkway. A single-lane, single-storey road then continues westward as 31st Street.
The north-south section is west of Tulsa. It begins at a conventional connection to US 412 and then heads south, with a bridge over the Arkansas River. The highway ends southwest of downtown Tulsa at an interchange with Interstate 44 and Interstate 244.
The Gilcrease Expressway was envisioned as a complete bypass around Tulsa in the 1950s, along with Interstate 44. The Gilcrease Expressway was originally just the gateway to Tulsa Airport. The first part opened in 1966 at the airport, and at that time was not yet connected to other motorways. That happened in 1971 when a short southbound extension to I-244 was opened. It was not until much later, in 1988, that the westbound extension to US 75 (Cherokee Expressway) opened. It was not until more than 20 years later that the highway was extended westward again, to the Tisdale Parkway.
Tulsa’s western bypass plans had been a low priority for a long time. Partly because of the cost of a bridge over the Arkansas River, this section did not get off the ground for a long time. Funding was so slow that it would not be ready until around 2050 using conventional means. From 2010, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority investigated whether the highway could be constructed as a turnpike. On March 10, 2017, the highway was announced as a toll road, initially only between I-44 and US 64/412 west of Tulsa, but not all the way to Tisdale Parkway. This will cost $240 million. Work started on October 22, 2019 and should be ready by November 2022. However, construction was ahead of schedule, the Gilcrease Expressway is expected to open in October 2022.
|Apache Street||Pine Street||3 km||1966|
|Pine Street||I-244||2 km||1971|
|US 75||Apache Street||4 km||1988|
|Tisdale Parkway||US 75||4 km||2009|
The highway is named after Thomas Gilcrease (1890-1962), a businessman in the Tulsa oil industry. He collected a large amount of art and founded the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa in 1943. This museum has the most extensive collection of art from the American West, including the only surviving official copy of the Declaration of Independence. Gilcrease was therefore a well-known name in Tulsa.
Road number, exit numbering & road management
The Gilcrease Expressway is partially numbered as State Route 11 between I-244 and US 75. The portion west of it is a county road. In 2018, the State Route 344 number was approved for the western portion of the Gilcrease Expressway.
The original portion of the Gilcrease Expressway on the north side of Tulsa had no exit numbering. The newer section on the west side of Tulsa does have exit numbering, starting at I-44.
Every day, 30,000 to 32,000 vehicles travel on the eastern portion of the Gilcrease Expressway between I-244, the airport, and US 75. There is no known traffic data for the portion west of US 75.