Tulsa County officials on Tuesday announced a planned widening of Wekiwa Road west of Sand Springs, which will be the site of next May’s Ironman bicycle competition.
County Engineer Alex Mills said work will begin near the end of this month between 129th and 161st West Avenues and will include widening the road to accommodate bike lanes and provide a safer roadway for vehicles, pedestrians and bicyclists going to the nearby Keystone Dam and Keystone Lake.
The project will cost $2.46 million, according to a county news release, and will be funded in part by VISION money.
Wekiwa Road will be used as a portion of the bicycle leg of the Ironman competition in May of next year, officials said.
The Ironman brings in 10,000 athletes, spectators and media and has a direct economic impact of $10 million, said Ray Hoyt, president of Tulsa Regional Tourism.
“This is a scenic road and an important emergency relief road if something happens on (U.S.) 412 and traffic has to be diverted,” County Commissioner Karen Keith said in a statement.
But “it is one of our county’s most challenged roads. It has taken years to cobble together funds from different buckets to get this project moving,” she said.
Rich Brierre, executive director of the Indian Nations Council of Governments, said the project was a multijurisdictional effort between INCOG, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Tulsa County “to fund and combine … three separate projects in order to complete the entire road from Keystone Dam to Sand Springs.”
Wekiwa Road is identified as a bicycle route on the adopted GO Plan, the regional bicycle/pedestrian master plan, he said.
“Combined, these three projects will improve safety for all forms of transportation, motorized and nonmotorized. Safety additions include new guardrails, widening 4 miles of the road to include shoulders and patching and overlaying potholes,” Brierre said.