The Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will make safety improvements to a deadly intersection on U.S. 75 between Tulsa and Bartlesville, officials announced.

The improvements will be at the intersection of U.S. 75 and 2900 Road, just east of Ochelata, where 37 crashes — five of them fatal — occurred between 2012 and 2017.

The intersection is about 12 miles south of Bartlesville.

Improvements will include the installation of “J turns.” Instead of crossing fast-moving lanes of traffic, drivers on the county road will turn right onto the divided four-lane highway, merge into the left lane and then make a U-turn in the direction they intend to travel.

Construction of infrastructure for such turns usually involves a median.

The Cherokee Nation is paying $411,000 toward the $678,000 project, the tribe said in a news release Wednesday.

“This intersection … is an important route that provides direct access to Cherokee Nation’s Cooweescoowee Health Center (in Ochelata), where tens of thousands of patients are seen each year,” Cherokee Principal Chief Bill John Baker said in a statement.

“Cherokee Nation is proud to work with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to help prevent collisions and make this route safer for years to come. This is a great example of the strengths of a partnership between the Cherokee Nation and the state of Oklahoma.”

The tribe received the $411,000 through Tribal Transportation Safety Funds, which are set aside by the federal government each year to address transportation safety issues in Indian Country.

The project is expected to be completed in early summer.

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