Chickasaw Nation improves access to WinStar Casino - - Texoma news, weather and sports

Chickasaw Nation improves access to WinStar Casino

THACKERVILLE, OK -- Getting in and out of a popular destination in Texoma may now be a little easier.

Traffic along Interstate 35 may flow fine during the day but drivers say at night, getting into WinStar World Casino can be difficult.

"It's pretty bad, take about 20 minutes just to get to the casino," Irving resident Kayla Jordan said.

For years, traffic from both directions has been funneled onto Highway 77, the closest intersection to the Texas state line. It's been the main way to get to and from casino parking lots, until now.

Tuesday, the Chickasaw Nation, which owns WinStar, hosted a ceremony to officially open two more ramps to help ease the flow of traffic.

"This provides an opportunity to provide greater access to our facilities but also to diminish the safety hazard that's here because of all the traffic," Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said.

The new ramps are north of the casino. One ramp connects the I-35 southbound lanes to Winstar Boulevard. The other sends drivers traveling north from Winstar Boulevard right back onto the Interstate.

The nation estimates 7,200 vehicles will use the ramps each day.

ODOT Director Mike Patterson says construction costs, including improvements to the bridge across I-35, were about $14 million.

"The Chickasaw Nation bore most of the cost of the project and when I say most we just might as well call it all the cost," Patterson said.

Patterson says back-ups because of the casino onto I-35 kept the project on their radar for about the past 10 years.

"Many times traffic was backing up on I-35 and it was a concern to us," Patterson said. "There were accidents that occurred that caused us to look at needing to introduce a new interchange to this area."

The interchange -- coincidentally -- comes with an appropriate number for a casino.

In addition to delivering a smoother ride, for gamers, Exit 3 will hopefully bring a little luck.