Kickapoo Turnpike — Oklahoma County, OK

Efficient Turnpike Design Minimizes Impact on Environment

Engineering Challenge

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) tapped us to design a four-mile section between SE 44th Street and Reno Avenue of the new Kickapoo Turnpike, a new 21-mile connection between I-40 and I-44/Turner Turnpike that helps eliminate a portion of Oklahoma City’s traffic congestion. This section of the new Turnpike included alignment with two interchanges, four section line road crossings and passing through a large FEMA Regulatory Floodway. Our team was challenged with minimizing the amount of materials required for construction as well as dealing with floodplain and floodway regulations.

Engineering Success

Our team started this $65 million project by surveying several miles of roads and creeks before designing a four-lane divided interstate, two interchanges and eight bridges. Although this design required an enormous amount of materials, our careful analysis minimized the impact on surrounding properties and the environment. We studied multiple interchange configurations to determine the most appropriate layout based off existing conditions and traffic volumes. The new Turnpike crossed a FEMA Zone AE floodplain and Regulatory Floodway, meaning new bridges couldn’t increase the water surface elevation of the Base Flood Elevation. Ramps from the Reno Avenue interchange were encroaching onto the bridges, so we ran them the full length of the bridges, creating constant deck width and requiring no flared beams. Through hydraulic modeling, we designed equal span lengths, allowing identical beams, bearings, abutments and piers, and using a Type J bulb tee beam reduced the number of beams. The simple and efficient design resulted in a bid price well below average.

Our careful analysis minimized the impact on surrounding properties and the environment.

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