Interstate 235 Oklahoma

Interstate 235 provides the most direct route through downtown Oklahoma City, with connections to most major east-west city streets on its route. The southern three miles follow the Centennial Expressway, while the rest of the route follows the Broadway Extension. Photo taken 10/20/03.

Routing

The Central Arterial of Oklahoma City is Interstate 235, which links Interstates 35 and 40 with Interstate 44 to the north. The freeway doubles as U.S. 77 as it replaced the former street level alignment of the route along Lincoln Boulevard. North of the interchange with I-44, the freeway continues as U.S. 77 (Broadway Extension). This segment continues north into Edmund.

Parallel U.S. Routes

Interstate 235 is cosigned in its entirety with U.S. 77. It is partially on a former alignment of Historic U.S. 66.

History

I-235 through Oklahoma City was established as an Interstate route by AASHTO on July 13, 1976 between I-35 & 40 and then I-240. The section of Interstate 235 from Interstates 35 & 40 north to NW 36th Street is named the Centennial Expressway and was opened to traffic on April 22, 1989.1 The timing of the opening of Interstate 235 coincided with the 100-year anniversary of the "Oklahoma Land Run." The section north of N. 36th Street was built earlier and is considered part of Broadway.

Southern Terminus - Interstate 35/40 and U.S. 62/270- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Perspective from Interstate 235 south
Southbound on Interstate 235 at the final downtown Oklahoma City interchange for Exit 1F/North 6th Street. There is one mile left of the Interstate before it concludes at Interstate 35 and 40. Photos taken by Eric Stuve (09/04/02) and Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Interstate 235/U.S. 77 southbound reaches the Interstate 40 westbound ramp. This interchange features not only the southern terminus of Interstate 235, but also the western end of the Interstate 35/40 overlap. The confluence of these major roadways has resulted in major construction projects over the last several years. Note that U.S. 270 is omitted from the Interstate 40 related panels and that U.S. 77 southbound is omitted from the Interstate 35 southbound panel. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Continuing beyond the Interstate 40/U.S. 270 westbound ramp, Interstate 235 comes to an end at this partition between Interstate 35 north/Interstate 40/U.S. 270 east and Interstate 35/U.S. 77 south. The left-hand exit serves the suburbs of Del and Midwest Cities and also Tinker Air Force Base. Traffic proceeding straight directly transitions onto Interstate 35 southbound. U.S. 77 overlaps with Interstate 35 through the suburb of Moore before departing the freeway at Exit 113 near Norman. One may remember the town of Moore as it was devastated by an F-5 Tornado during May of 1999. Vidcap taken by Cary B. Todd (03/94).
Fully reflectorized signage replaces the button copy signs Pictured in the above vidcap as Interstate 235 southbound passes by Exit 1A/Interstate 35 north/Interstate 40 east. There is no end sign at the southern terminus of Interstate 235. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
Perspective from Interstate 35 north
Northbound Interstate 35, two miles south of the Interstate 40 overlap and Interstate 235. The sign bridge displayed is at Exit 124B/S.E. 29th Street/S.E. 25th Street. Note that the left-hand sign panel for Interstate 40 excludes an Interstate 235 shield. Photo taken 10/20/03.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is the site where the Alfred P. Murrah Building was destroyed in one of the worst cases of domestic terrorism in the history of the United States. Bomber Timothy McVeigh was later convicted and executed for his role in the destruction of this building and the deaths of 168 people on April 19, 1995. The site was made into a national memorial in 1997 and is now the site of a reflecting pool, field of empty chairs, and memorial fence. Use Interstate 235 north, then follow the signs to the memorial. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Interstate 35 north approaching Interstates 40 and 235 (one mile) after the S.E. 15th Street offramp (Exit 125B). Notice the odd font on the signs. This sign was installed during the first part of the Interstate 35 reconstruction/widening in south Oklahoma City during the mid 1990s and is the only sign to use a non-standard font. Photo taken 10/20/03.
One-half mile sign bridge on Interstate 35/U.S. 77 northbound. U.S. 77 is given no respect however, as it is omitted from all signage for Interstate 235 on Interstate 35 northbound. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Use Interstate 235 north for the continuation of U.S. 77 north. This is the only sign to that effect. Note that the ramp to Interstate 40 west is a left exit. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Interstate 35 north where the mainline exits off to the right at Interstates 40 and 235. This interchange represents a tight squeeze in the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, as all Interstate 35 traffic is forced into the right-hand lane, which merges on from the S.E. 15th Street exit (S.E. 15th crosses over Interstate 35 in the previous photograph). The ramp frequently is the site of traffic backups during the late afternoon and early evening peak hours of travel. Fortunately due to the reconstruction of Interstate 40, motorists are offered a smooth ride upon leaving this ramp. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Continuing past the Interstate 35 northbound departure, Exit 126 for Interstate 40 westbound is forthcoming. This stretch could be considered part of Interstate 235 now that Interstate 35 has left. Of course, it could be considered just a stretch of U.S. 77 too. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/08/02).
Interstate 35 northbound exit to Interstate 40 west/Exit 126. Now it can be considered the official beginning of Interstate 235. For Interstate 40 travelers, an exit of the Oklahoma city metropolitan area and 256 mile drive lie ahead en route to Amarillo, Texas. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Perspective from Interstate 40 west
Interstate 35/U.S. 62 southbound splits from Interstate 40/U.S. 270 westbound in this photograph at the northbound ramp for Interstate 235. Note that again U.S. 77 is omitted from the right and left-hand panels and that the exit numbering convention of the Interstate 35/40 overlap follows Interstate 35 mileposts. Photo taken 05/28/95.
Approaching the Interstate 35/40 split and northbound beginning of Interstate 235. Note that the southbound Interstate 35 control city is that of Dallas, Texas. The love is not returned from Dallas to Oklahoma City, as Interstate 35E uses Denton as the northbound control city. Wouldn't it be poetic justice if OKC area signage for Interstate 35 changed the control point of Dallas to Ardmore? Food for thought... Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/08/02).
Another look at the Interstate 235 northbound ramp/Exit 126 reveals that the Interstate 235 shield has fallen off the guide sign. The interchange between the three Interstates and three U.S. routes is partially elevated and stacked due to the nearby proximately of the North Canadian River. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (09/11/02).
Perspective from Interstate 40 east
Over two miles to the west of Interstates 35 and 235, Interstate 40 eastbound passes by Exit 149A/Western Avenue/Reno Avenue. The left-hand panel actually predates Interstate 235. The viaduct in the background is the western beginning of the Interstate 40 Crosstown Bridge. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (09/11/02).
Interstate 235 makes a debut to Interstate 40 eastbound motorists at the Exit 150B/Harvey Avenue sign bridge. This stretch of freeway is a part of the elevated Crosstown Bridge. The viaduct is a deteriorating six-lane bridge system that is slated for replacement by 2010. Upon completion of the project, Interstate 40 would have ten lanes of travel at street-level on an alignment six blocks to the south of here. Photo taken 10/20/03.
This is the one-half mile advance sign for the Interstate 35, Interstate 235, and U.S. 77 interchange (Exits 151B-C). Photo taken 10/20/03.
Eastbound Interstate 40 and U.S. 270 reach Exit 151A, Lincoln Boulevard. The next exit is Exit 151B, Junction Interstate 35/U.S. 77 south to Dallas, followed by Exit 151C, Junction Interstate 235/U.S. 77 north. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Midway between the Interstate 35/U.S. 77 southbound off-ramp and the merge with Interstate 35/U.S. 62 northbound, Interstate 40/U.S. 270 eastbound sees Exit 151C for Interstate 235/U.S. 77 northbound. The quadplex of Interstate 35/40 and U.S. 62/270 endures just under two miles. Traffic departing via Interstate 35 southbound will pass through Norman in 15 miles, the scenic Arbuckle Mountains near Ardmore within 100 miles, and reach Dallas in 189 miles. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Proceeding through the Interstate 35/40 interchange, Exit 151C for Interstate 235 north into downtown Oklahoma City departs to the right via a cloverleaf ramp. Interstate 35 mileage based exit numbers overtake Interstate 40's for the next two miles. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Perspective from Interstate 235 north
After the junction with Interstate 35 and Interstate 40, northbound Interstate 235 and U.S. 77 travel over the Centennial Expressway. This elevated freeway, which passes over portions of downtown Oklahoma City, was constructed in the late 1980s to connect the existing stub Broadway Extension freeway with the Interstate 35-40 interchange. The first two exits are Exit 1C, Sheridan Avenue, followed by Exit 1D, Lincoln Boulevard (State Capitol). Photo taken 10/20/03.
Northbound Interstate 235/Centennial Expressway and U.S. 77 reach Exit 1C, Sheridan Avenue; the next exit is Exit 1D, Lincoln Boulevard to the State Capitol. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Continuing north on Interstate 235/U.S. 77, the Centennial Expressway reaches Exit 1D, Lincoln Boulevard. The next exit is Exit 1E, Harrison Avenue. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Northbound Interstate 235/U.S. 77/Centennial Expressway reaches Exit 1E, Harrison Avenue. At this point, Interstate 235 leaves the elevated viaduct and travels at ground level. The next exit is Exit 2A, N. 23rd Street/Harrison Avenue. Photo taken 10/20/03.
After a brief section of Interstate 235/U.S. 77 that follows a greenbelt, the freeway again rises on an elevated viaduct when it meets N. 23rd Street at Exit 2A. Look west here to see the Oklahoma State Capitol building. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Northern Terminus - Interstate 44 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Perspective from Interstate 235 north
Interstate 235/U.S. 77 northbound approaches Exit 3, North 36th Street in advance of Interstate 44 by one and three-fourths of a mile. The Centennial Expressway section of Interstate 235 comes to an end and merges into the Broadway Extension section. North 50th Street and Santa Fe Avenue (not signed here, but is actually served by the exit) is Exit 4A. This is the last time exit numbers are seen on Interstate 235 northbound. Another curious observation entails why the sign displays junction Interstate 44 and U.S. 77 when Interstate 235 is already part of U.S. 77. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Interstate 235 northbound reaches unmarked Exit 3, North 36th Street. The exits on the northern half of Interstate 235 are unnumbered as this section of freeway was completed several years prior to the southern half east of downtown. The junction with Interstate 44 is one and one-third miles to the north. This is not the only usage of one-third of mile increments on guide signage in the Oklahoma City Area. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Continuing northbound on Interstate 235 at unmarked Exit 4A for N. Santa Fe Avenue/N. 50th Street. The left-hand panel indicates that the eastbound Interstate 44 ramp is only one-third of a mile northward. No control point is used and the sign almost alludes that there is no access to Interstate 44 west. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Traffic for Interstate 44 eastbound departs at unmarked Exit 4B as Interstate 235 continues for a short distance onward to the westbound ramp. The first exit of the Broadway Extension/U.S. 77 is situated in one-half mile. Photo taken 10/20/03.
The northern conclusion of Interstate 235 occurs at the westbound cloverleaf ramp for Interstate 44. Since either direction of Interstate 44 is still amassed within the city limits of Oklahoma City, no control points are used. Traffic continuing northward are defaulted onto north U.S. 77 to the town of Edmund. Unlike Interstate 240 and its western terminus, no end shield is posted here. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (09/04/02).
Perspective from U.S. 77/Broadway Extension south
U.S. 77/Broadway Extension southbound approaching the Wilshire Boulevard exit. The freeway will reach Interstate 44 in one and three-fourths of a mile. With that stated, Interstate 235 will also be reached in the same distance, yet is omitted from the upcoming exits signage. In fact, there are no Interstate 235 related signs on U.S. 77 southbound until the highway passes by Interstate 44 itself. This sign bridge is new as this section of the Broadway Extension was just widened to eight lanes and fully opened on October 31, 2002. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
U.S. 77/Broadway Extension southbound approaching the N.W. 63rd Street exit. Interstates 44 and 235 are now just one mile away but again Interstate 235 is neglected on the upcoming exits sign. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
U.S. 77/Broadway Extension South at the Interstate 44 westbound exit. The one-third mile increments seen on northbound Interstate 235 at this interchange are present on southbound here as well. This interchange is slated for reconstruction in the next 10-15 years. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
The low angle of the November sun glares the scene on U.S. 77 southbound at the Interstate 44 eastbound ramp. Interstate 235 has officially begun, but motorists will not be aware of it just yet. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
Out of obscurity, Interstate 235 southbound emerges to U.S. 77 traffic. The upcoming exit is for the unmarked Exit 4A/Santa Fe Avenue/North 50th Street. Interstate 235 maintains at least six lanes through to Interstate 35/40. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Perspective from Interstate 44 west
Mileage sign along Interstate 44 westbound between Kelley Avenue (Exit 128B) and M.L. King Avenue (Exit 129). Interstate 235/U.S. 77 (Exit 127) is approaching in one and a half miles with Lincoln Boulevard (original U.S. 77) at Exit 128A in one mile. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Interstate 44 westbound approaching Interstate 235 south/U.S. 77 in one-half mile. The stack interchange present is that of Exit 128A (Lincoln Blvd./Old U.S. 77). Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Westbound Interstate 44 at the Interstate 235 south/U.S. 77 interchange. Similar to the eastbound direction, a c/d system is in use. The left-hand panel displayed that Interstate 44 was the construction bypass for Interstate 35 and 40. A major reconstruction project of the brief overlap between the two highways around downtown Oklahoma City was underway at the time of this photograph. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Looking at the exit ramp from the mainline of westbound Interstate 44 and Oklahoma 66, the first ramp connects to northbound U.S. 77/Broadway Extension, while the second ramp links to southbound Interstate 235/U.S. 77. Photo taken 10/20/03.
Now on the transition ramp from westbound Interstate 44 to Interstate 235 and U.S. 77 south, the ramp acts as a collector distributor lane. Photo taken by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
Perspective from Interstate 44 east
Interstate 44 eastbound approaching Exit 127/Interstate 235 south/U.S. 77 in one mile. Interstate 44 is a suppressed freeway for the most part to the northwest of downtown Oklahoma City. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
Exit 127/Interstate 235/U.S. 77 overhead along Interstate 44 eastbound approaching the northern terminus. The original segment of Interstate 235 (before it was signed as such) carried U.S. 77 shields. The alignment began north of downtown from Broadway, and thus became the Broadway Extension. Vidcap taken 05/95.
Guide sign within one-half mile of Exit 127 on Interstate 44 eastbound. The northbound control city of U.S. 77 is that of Edmond, home to the University of Central Oklahoma. The freeway of U.S. 77 continues to the city of 68,315. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
Interstate 44 east at the c/d roadway for Interstate 235/U.S. 77. The button copy guide sign to the left still reveals an imprint from what was a U.S. 77 shield. Before the Broadway Extension was built, U.S. 77 followed Lincoln Boulevard, Byers Avenue, Central Avenue, and Shields Boulevard throughout Oklahoma City. Vidcap taken by Cary B. Todd (03/94).
Interstate 44 eastbound at the Exit 127 collector/distributor roadway begin Pictured in the above photograph. Note that the original button copy signs are replaced with fully reflectorized guide signs. Additionally, new sign lighting fixtures are now in place. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (11/06/02).
A collector/distributor roadway facilitates traffic movements to/from Interstate 235 south/U.S. 77 from/to Interstate 44 eastbound. This guide sign directs motorists to the Interstate and Broadway Extension respectively. Downtown Oklahoma City is approximately three miles to the south. Photo taken by Eric Stuve (09/04/02).

Sources:

  1. Celebrate the Interstate: America's Interstate Highway System Turns 50! by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Page Updated July 23, 2006.

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