Interstate 240 Oklahoma
Interstate 240 forms a southerly bypass of central Oklahoma City for I-40 west to El Reno and east to Shawnee. The freeway also provides connectivity with Interstate 44 leading southwest to Lawton and I-35 south to Dallas. I-240 serves commuters to Tinker Air Force Base, Will Rogers World Airport (OKC) and the south suburbs including Moore.
The agenda for the August 2, 2021 Oklahoma Transportation Commission Meeting included a spate of state highway system numbering revisions. Among the approvals, designating Interstate 240 in place of SH 152 for 4.8 miles between I-44 and the John Kilpatrick Turnpike in Oklahoma City. I-240 was also added along 30.97 miles of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike to Northwest Oklahoma City and I-35/44 near Arcadia Lake, and along the Kickapoo Turnpike for 18.71 miles between I-40 near Newalla in eastern Oklahoma City and I-44 (Turner Turnpike) at Luther.
A 1.4 mile long overlap with I-44 will link the SH 152 segment and the current west end of I-240. Overlaps will also include 13.7 miles along the I-44 (Turner Turnpike) and 5.81 miles along I-40 to link the various segments, forming a 93 mile long loop.
This item is necessitated to give the traveling public a more definitive loop to follow around the Greater Oklahoma City Area and to better identify the un-numbered Turnpikes.
Although approved by the State Transportation Commission, the changes require approval from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Pending concurrence by the FHWA. AASHTO subsequently approved the 75.48 mile long extension of I-240 at the Fall 2021 Route Numbering Committee Meeting.
Crossroads Renewal 240
Started in June 2016, the Crossroads Renewal 240 interchange project upgrades the cloverleaf joining I-240 and I-35 into a multi level exchange. The four phase project runs through
2023 2026 2028. Completed in May 2017, Phase 1 work reconstructed the Southwest Expressway east from Santa Fe Avenue (Exit 3B) to past Shields Boulevard. The $12 million phase included interim ramp changes at Shields Boulevard.
Phase 1A rebuilt the frontage road along the southwest quadrant of the exchange joining I-35 and I-240. It also permanently closed the entrance ramp to I-240 east from Shields Boulevard and the southbound off-ramp from I-35 to SE 82nd Street. Started in June 2017, the $10.6 million project was completed in Summer 2018. Redesigning the remaining frontage roads, Phase 1B was planned for fiscal year 2021.
Phase 2 will construct the flyovers from I-35 north to I-240 west and from I-35 south to I-240 east. It will also replace the eastbound span for Interstate 240 over I-35. Phase 3 will complete work along Interstate 240 east between Shields Boulevard and Eastern Avenue, while Phase 4 upgrades the westbound direction along the same stretch. Phase 4 also includes work on a new bridge for I-240 over I-35. Estimated to cost $90.64 million, Phases 2, 3 and 4 are scheduled for fiscal year 2023 in the ODOT Eight year Construction Work Plan.
Source: December 31, 2021 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
The initial section of Interstate 240 completed was the Southwest Expressway extending west from I-35 to the freeway along U.S. 62 south to Newcastle. This segment was posted as U.S. 62.
Interstate 240 extended north over former I-440 along both the West Bypass and east along side U.S. 66 (Northeast Expressway) to form a three quarter beltway around Oklahoma City.
A section of Northeast Expressway, between Eastern and Lincoln Boulevards, was the first four lane highway to open in Oklahoma. It was completed in October 1950.2 The urban Interstate numerology approved by the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) on November 10, 1958 assigned Interstate 440 along a loop formed by the Will Rogers Expressway and U.S. 66 between I-40 (Stanley Draper Expressway) and I-35 (Northeast Expressway). Interstate 240 was assigned to the completed portion of the Southeast Expressway, from I-35 (South Central Expressway) east to I-40 beyond the Oklahoma City urban area. The southwest quadrant of I-240 along the Southwest Expressway and Will Rogers Expressway was referenced as Tentative Future Interstate Highway 240. Because the loop was incomplete, separate numbers were designated.
The Oklahoma Department of Highways eventually requested the renumbering of I-440 as part of an extended I-240 in a letter to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) dated December 3, 1974.
In our original submission for Interstate Status, the Southwest Quadrant of Oklahoma City was denied; therefore, the routes were divided as I-240 and I-440. The Southwest Quadrant was later approved. These routes have a common interchange with I-40 and the signing would be simplified with the use of just one intersecting number. This change was recommended by the Federal Highway Administration, and this revision has been submitted to them for their formal approval. Construction on these routes is nearing completion.
The exit numbering system along Interstate 240 was originally based off the mileage for I-40. I-240 was completed in 1975 and on June 17 of that year AASHTO approved a request from the Oklahoma State Highway Commission for the renumbering of I-440 as part of Interstate 240. Reasons cited for the change:
To combine Interstate Routes 240 and 440 as 240 simplify the route marking.
The two numbers originated when the southwest quadrant of route 240 was denied in its original submission. Route 240 is near completion; segments of 440 are under construction. This revision has been recommended by the Federal Highway Administration and by the State Traffic Engineer.
Further changes for I-240 were made, with Interstate 44 overtaking both the original 10.8 mile long I-440 section, and the western leg of I-240 as part of its extension from the Turner Turnpike near Edmond south to Lawton and Wichita Falls, Texas. The elimination of I-240 over the newly designated I-44 was approved by FHWA and by AASHTO on June 28, 1982.
AASHTO and FHWA has approved the extension of Interstate Route 44 from its old terminus at I-35 in N.E. Oklahoma City southwesterly to Wichita Falls, Texas. Within the Oklahoma City area, the extension of I-44 over I-240 creates a myriad of problems related to the signing of duplicate Interstate Routes within an urbanized area.
The problem of duplicate signing and its related confusion to the motoring public warrants the elimination of overlapping routes. Therefore, it is recommended that the designation of I-240 be removed from that portion of I-44 beginning at the US 62 – I-240 interchange and extending north and east to its junction with I-35.
I-44 leading south from I-240 to the H.E. Bailey Turnpike north end at Newcastle was designated as U.S. 62 from 1965 to 1982. I-240 from U.S. 62 to U.S. 66 opened on March 23, 1976. From 1978 to 1980, U.S. 66 was detoured along Portland Avenue north to NW and NE 63rd Streets east and Kelley Avenue south while Interstate 240 was constructed.3
East End – east of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Planned East End – Newalla, Oklahoma
IH 40/U.S. 270-SH 3 west at the cloverstack interchange (Exit 170) with the Kickapoo Turnpike south end near Newalla. 10/04/21
The planned extension of Interstate 240 forming a 360 degree beltway encircling Oklahoma City will include an overlap of I-40/240 east to the Kickapoo Turnpike new Newalla. Costing $453 million to build, the Kickapoo Turnpike opened initially on October 13, 2020 for 11 miles between U.S. 62 (NE 23rd Street) and IH 44 (Turner Turnpike). The southern half opened to traffic in January 5, 2021.4
East End Throwback
IH 40/U.S. 270-SH 3 west at IH 240 prior to the 2018 expansion project. Photo by Eric Stuve (03/23/14).
West End – Will Rogers Airport, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
A ground level sign posted within the folded diamond interchange (Exit 114) at SW 74th Street provides short notice for Exit 115 to I-240, U.S. 62 and SH 3 east. I-240 forms a commercial corridor east to I-35, and a through route for Fort Smith, Arkansas via I-40, located 182 miles to the east. 05/06/12
West East at
- Celebrate the Interstate: America’s Interstate Highway System Turns 50!
http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/okinterstate50/Oklahoma Department of Transportation, web site.
- “Interstate Highway System Celebrates Silver Anniversary.” The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), November 15, 1981.
- Darrell Brunson, email: “The H.E. Bailey Turnpike & I-44 at OKC,” August 13, 2017.
- “Kickapoo Turnpike open between I-40 and Turner Turnpike.” The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), January 9, 2021.
Page updated May 23, 2022.