Interstate 235 Oklahoma
Following a combination of the Centennial Expressway and Broadway Extension, Interstate 235 through Oklahoma City links I-35/40 by Bricktown with I-44 near Nichols Hills. Extending north from I-35 to the Broadway Extension freeway to Edmond, U.S. 77 overlaps with all of I-235.
Off Broadway and I-235
Rebuilding of the oldest section of Interstate 235, from N 36th Street to I-44, got underway by 2011. Completed at that time was a new ramp from I-44 east to I-235 south. The $10 million project replaced the first of the substandard ramps at the cloverleaf interchange joining the two freeways.
The Off Broadway project commenced on August 22, 2016 with work from N 36th Street to NW 63rd Street. The resurfacing contract was completed ahead of schedule by late September 2016. Succeeding construction was underway on January 2, 2017. Costing $88 million, the third phase expanded Interstate 235 to six overall lanes from N 36th Street to a point just beyond N 50th Street while replacing the BNSF Railroad and N 50th Street overpasses. Finished a year ahead of schedule, all lanes of traffic were opened to traffic on November 9, 2018, with final work completed by month’s end.
Estimated to cost $35 million, work on Phase 2B added flyovers linking Interstate 235 north with I-44 west and from I-44 east to U.S. 77 (Broadway Extension) north. Subsequent reconstruction of the ramp joining Interstate 44 westbound with Broadway Extension north (Phase 3A) cost $16 million. The overall Off Broadway project was completed by March 2022.
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
I-235 through Oklahoma City was established as an Interstate route by American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) on July 13, 1976. The route was previously submitted to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for inclusion in the Interstate System on November 5, 1975. FHWA responded favorably to the request on May 13, 1976:
we conditionally approve under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 139(a) the addition to the Interstate System of the 1.5-mile northern segment of the Central Expressway in Oklahoma City. We also conditionally approve under the provisions of 23 U.S.C. 103(e)(1) the addition to the Interstate System of the 3.2-mile southern segment of the Central Expressway.
The FHWA approval authorized the use of Federal Interstate Funds for constructing the 3.2 miles of the Central Expressway extending south from NW 36th Street to I-35/40. The remainder of the Central Expressway north to then-I-240 was essentially complete to Interstate standards.
The Centennial Expressway section of I-235, from I-35/40 north to NW 36th Street, opened to traffic on April 22, 1989, coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of the “Oklahoma Land Run.” The section beyond N 36th Street was built in the late 1960s and is considered part of Broadway.1
U.S. 77 originally navigated through central Oklahoma City along surface streets. Overlapping with U.S. 62, U.S. 77 partitioned along the couplet of Robinson Avenue / Broadway through Downtown to NE 23rd Street east (U.S. 270). 23rd Street took U.S. 62-72-270 east to the State Capitol and Lincoln Boulevard. There U.S. 77 combined with U.S. 66 Business north to Grand Boulevard, the predecessor to Interstate 44 and the Northeast Expressway.
Construction was underway by 1962 for Broadway Extension south from U.S. 66 (Grand Boulevard) topping Park. Upon completion, the freeway spur south from U.S. 66 was unnumbered. What would eventually become a part of I-235 south to I-35 and I-40 was originally referenced as the Capital Freeway. The Capital Freeway was proposed to tie into Lincoln Boulevard south of the Capitol on the 1976 Official Oklahoma Highway Map.
U.S. 77 was initially realigned from using Robinson Avenue southbound to follow just Broadway through Downtown. The relocation from 5th Street SW north to 23rd Street NW was approved by AASHTO on October 28, 1978. The 1981 Official Oklahoma Highway Map shows U.S. 77 changed again, following Reno Avenue east to Lincoln Boulevard north. Upon completion of the Centennial Freeway, U.S. 77 shifted a final time to overlap with all of Interstate 235.
North End – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
North End Throwback
Broadway Extension shifts northeast to pass under N 50th Street to what was a partial trumpet interchange with an access road linking IH 235 with parallel Santa Fe Avenue north of NE 50th Street. The overpass and southbound off-ramp to Santa Fe Avenue were demolished by 2013 to make way for a new off-ramp from IH 44 east to IH 235 south. 10/20/03
The first sign referencing Interstate 235 south along Broadway Extension was this overhead posted at the off-ramp for Santa Fe Avenue and N 50th Street. This exit permanently closed to accommodate a new high speed ramp from IH 44 east to IH 235 south, opened in 2013. Photo by Jeff Morrison (12/28/05).
South End – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
North East at
South West at
IH 35/U.S. 62 dog legs west alongside IH 40/U.S. 270 for 0.8 miles from a directional T interchange (Exit 126) to IH 235/U.S. 77. U.S. 62 navigates throughout the Oklahoma City metro area along the Interstate system. Entering IH 35 from NE 23rd Street to the east, U.S. 62 follows the freeway south to IH 240, and the Southwest Expressway west to IH 44 and Newcastle. 05/09/22
The new eastbound lanes of Interstate 40 to the south of Downtown Oklahoma City opened to traffic on January 5, 2012. These replaced a narrow viaduct (Crosstown Bridge) located further north. The freeway passes by Wheeler Park ahead of Exit 150 A for Shields Boulevard (old U.S. 77), 2.25 miles west of IH 235 north. 10/04/21
South End Throwback
- Celebrate the Interstate: America’s Interstate Highway System Turns 50!
http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/okinterstate50/Oklahoma Department of Transportation web page.
- “New ramp at I-235 and I-44 to open in Oklahoma City.” The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), January 18, 2014.
Page updated June 30, 2022.