I-35 Opens Just in Time for Busiest Weekend of the Year - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

I-35 Opens Just in Time for Busiest Weekend of the Year

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ARDMORE, OK-- Thursday, marks the start of the biggest weekend of travel on Interstate 35 as fans head to the cotton bowl for the Red River Rivalry. Meredith Saldana talked to travelers headed to the big game as well as ODOT officials, she has more on this story.

Fans say they were not looking forward to the drive this year because of all of the construction along I-35, but they were excited to find out it would all be cleared in time for the big game.     

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation started reconstructing I-35 nearly one year ago.   

The 2.5 mile project, to completely redo the interstate, cost more than $21-million.     

We told you in January, it was expected to be completed by OU/Texas weekend, but a wet winter delayed the contractors.

ODOT resident engineer Jay Earp says, "about March through May I was thinking there was no way that we would have the road open by September 30th."     

But on Thursday afternoon, we found road crews opening up the new highway to two lanes and Earp says they couldn't have finished it at a better time.

"I know the traffic is already heavy going for the OU/Texas weekend now."     

And fans traveling to the big game, definitely noticed.

"Extremely thankful," says Kyle Charboneau. "Actually, I heard it on the radio today they were going to open it up, its been great."

Pat Talbot from Edmond, Oklahoma agrees, "Oh, this year's been a breeze. All the roadwork is finished. Hopefully when we cross the border all of that roadwork's finished but in Oklahoma its been great."      

And that gives fans more time to focus on the big game.

"Well, if Texas obliges us by turning it over 5 times as they did against UCLA, we will win handily," says Talbot.

Charboneau adds, "I'm looking for total domination by the Sooners this year. I don't know lets go with 77 to 3. Is that pretty good?"        

You may still see crews laying grass on the side of I-35 and painting the lanes in the coming weeks but the interstate reconstruction is complete.

-Meredith Saldana, KTEN News