History


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1940's
  • The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was created by act of the Twenty-First Oklahoma Legislature on April 30, 1947 (SB 225). The Act provided for the construction of the Oklahoma City-to-Tulsa Turnpike (officially named the Turner Turnpike by HCR 15 on May 1, 1947), the only anticipated Turnpike project at the time of the legislation. The original four members of the Authority (in addition to the Governor) were mandated to represent the four counties to be served by the Turner Turnpike (Oklahoma, Lincoln, Creek, and Tulsa).

    (NOTE: SB 225 provided for construction of the Turner Turnpike only and stated that upon redemption of all bonds issued, the Turnpike could become a non-toll state highway, subject to acceptance by the State Highway Commission. SB 225 also provided, however, for the refunding of the bonds issued to construct the Turner Turnpike, which if done could lengthen the period of bonded indebtedness. Without refunding, the original bonds issued to construct the Turner Turnpike would have been retired in the third quarter of 1991.)

  • The first meeting of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority was held on August 7, 1947. Authority members were J. Wiley Richardson, Oklahoma City; Paul Wilson, Stroud; R.P.Mathews, Sapulpa; and Joe R. Jarboe, Tulsa; and Governor Roy J. Turner.

  • The study, which concluded that the Turner Turnpike was economically feasible, was completed and submitted by the engineering firm of De Leuw, Cather and Company of Chicago in March 1949.

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1950's
  • Bonds in the amount of $31.47 million for construction of the Turner Turnpike were sold and delivered to Shields and company, the principal underwriters, on November 28, 1950.

  • The first bid for construction on the Turner Turnpike was awarded on December 19, 1950.

  • The supplemental bond issue in the amount of $7 million was completed on June 2, 1952, making the total bond issue to finance the Turner Turnpike $38 million.

  • The Oklahoma Legislature passed HB 933 on May 7, 1953, created a new Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to replace the Authority created in 1947, providing for statewide representation on the new Turnpike Authority and establishing the basis for a State system of Turnpikes. HB 933 also authorized construction of the Northeastern Turnpike (this project was later named the Will Rogers Turnpike).

  • The Turner Turnpike was opened to traffic at 3:00 p.m., May 16, 1953.

  • The Oklahoma Legislature passed SB 454 on June 8, 1953 amending HB 933, which had passed just a month earlier, adding authorization to build a Turnpike from Oklahoma City to Wichita Falls, Texas (later named the H.E. Bailey Turnpike) and a Turnpike from Oklahoma City to Wichita, Kansas (the approximate present day alignment of Interstate 35 to Oklahoma City to Wichita).

  • All Turner Turnpike construction as certified as complete on November 14, 1953. A total of 91 contracts had been completed by 46 contractors at a total construction cost of $38.5 million.

  • On December 14, 1953, Referendum Petitions 105 and 106 were submitted to Oklahoma Attorney General Mac Q. Williamson by Muskogee Mayor Lyman B. Beard, for determination of the correct form of ballot titles for statewide votes on SB 454 and HB 933 as passed by the Oklahoma Legislature earlier in the year. On December 14, 1953, Attorney General Williamson submitted the ballot titles for State Questions 359 and 360 to Oklahoma Secretary of State John D. Conner. An election on the two state questions was set for January 26, 1954 by Governor Johnston Murray.

  • Voters approved both SB 454 and HB 933, including the new structure of the Turnpike Authority and the three new Turnpikes, by more than 40,000 votes on January 26, 1954.

  • The engineering and economic feasibility studies for the Will Rogers Turnpike were completed in October 1954.

  • Bonds in the amount of $68 million were issued in December 1954 for construction of the Will Rogers Turnpike.

  • The first bid for construction on the Will Rogers Turnpike was awarded on April 27, 1955.

  • On May 25, 1955, the Oklahoma Legislature amended HB 933 (the same Act passed in the 1953 Legislative Session and ratified in the statewide vote in 1954) to authorize construction of a Turnpike from the Oklahoma/Texas line in a wide corridor bordered on the West by a line East of Wilson, East of Maysville, East of Norman, and East of Oklahoma City and line West of U.S. Highway 69 (a project later named the Indian Nation Turnpike). The Legislature also amended HB 933 to: 1) provide that two or more Turnpike projects could be combined and financed as one project; 2) allow revenues from all Turnpikes considered “paid-out” projects to be used to pay the obligations of all Turnpikes; and 3) require that tolls continue to be collected on all Oklahoma Turnpikes as long as any bonds remained outstanding on any individual Turnpikes.

  • The Will Rogers Turnpike was opened to traffic on June 28, 1957.

  • The Oklahoma Highway commission designated the Turner Turnpike and the Will Rogers Turnpike as Interstate 44 on July 14, 1958. The Highway Commission designation was for signage only.

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1960's
  • The engineering and economic feasibility studies for the H.E. Bailey Turnpike and the Indian Nation Turnpike were completed in July 1960.

  • Bonds in the amount of $56 million were issued in November 1961 for construction of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.

  • The North Section of the Bailey Turnpike was opened to traffic on March 1, 1964 and the South section was opened on April 23, 1964.

  • Bonds in the amount of $31 million were issued in November 1963 for construction of the North section of the Indian Nation Turnpike.

  • On July 6, 1965, the Oklahoma Legislature authorized construction of the Muskogee Turnpike and the Cimarron Turnpike.

  • The North section of the Indian Nation Turnpike was opened to traffic on January 1, 1966.

  • On December 1, 1966, outstanding bonds on the Turner, Bailey and the North section of the Indian Nation Turnpikes were refunded in addition to the issuance of $70 million in new bonds to allow construction of the South section of the Indian Nation Turnpike and the full Muskogee Turnpike. The entire transaction totaled $186 million in bonds. An additional and important part of the purpose and plan of this financing is the combining at this time into one Turnpike system (the “Oklahoma Turnpike System”) for the purpose of operation and financing the Turner, Bailey and Section A of the Indian Nation, together with all Turnpike projects hereafter constructed by the Authority. The Trust Agreement provided for the issuance of additional. Bonds on parity with the Series A Bonds for the purpose of refunding all the then outstanding Will Rogers Turnpike Bonds under certain specified conditions and upon such issuance or upon the retirement of the Will Rogers Turnpike Bonds, the Will Rogers would become and be operated as part of the Oklahoma Turnpike System. (the Will Rogers became part of the Oklahoma Turnpike System when the bonds were paid off on December 1, 1983)

  • An increase in tolls on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective on December 1, 1968.

  • The Muskogee Turnpike was opened to traffic on October 16, 1969.

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1970's
  • The South Section of the Indian Nation Turnpike was opened to traffic on August 21, 1970.

  • Bonds in the amount of $74 million were issued in October 1971 for construction of the Cimarron Turnpike.

  • An increase in tolls on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective on January 15, 1975.

  • The Cimarron Turnpike was opened to traffic on May 16, 1975.

  • An increase in tolls on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective on June 1, 1979.

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1980's
  • In 1987, the Oklahoma Legislature authorized construction of the Kilpatrick Turnpike, the Creek Turnpike, the Chickasaw Turnpike and the Cherokee Turnpike.

  • Bonds in the amount of $558.4 million were issued in February 1989. $385.4 million was for the construction of the Cherokee Turnpike and the first sections of the Kilpatrick, Creek, and Chickasaw Turnpikes. The remaining $173 million was used to advance refund all of the outstanding Authority bonds from 1966 and 1971.

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1990's
  • The Oklahoma Turnpike System electronic toll collection system became operational on January 1, 1991, with the institution of PIKEPASS, an electronically monitored device attached to the windshields of vehicles allowing the recording of toll charges at full highway speeds. The non-stop method of toll collection deducts toll charges electronically from funds place on deposit by each PIKEPASS account holder.

  • An increase in cash tolls on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective January 1, 1991.

  • The Cherokee Turnpike and the first sections of the Kilpatrick and Chickasaw Turnpikes were opened to traffic on September 1, 1991.

  • In October 1991, bonds in the amount of $50 million were issued to provide funds sufficient, together with other funds of the Authority, for the completion of the Portland Interchange on the Kilpatrick Turnpike and certain other improvements to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority.

  • In May 1992, bonds in the amount of $608.3 million were issued in order to refinance approximately 94% of the Authority’s outstanding debt and in effect decreased the Authority’s aggregate debt service payments by approximately $36.8 million over the next 30 years. This action also resulted an economic gain (difference between the present value of the old and new debt service payments) of approximately $29.4 million.

  • In October 1992, bonds in the amount of $50.8 million were issued to refund the 1991 Revenue Bonds and in effect decreased the Authority’s aggregate debt service payments by approximately $4.5 million over the next 25 years. This action also resulted in a cash-basis economic gain (difference between the present value of the old and new debt service payments) of approximately $1.4 million.

  • The first section of the Creek Turnpike was opened to traffic on July 30, 1992.

  • A toll rate structure for the entire Oklahoma Turnpike System was adopted by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority on June 18, 1993, with an effective date of July 7, 1993. The Authority also adopted a plan to increase tolls biennially at rates tied to the Consumer Price Index.

  • An increase in tolls for both cash customers and PIKEPASS customers on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective on July 7, 1993.

  • An increase in tolls based on the Consumer Price Index over the previous 18 months for both cash customer and PIKEPASS customers on the Oklahoma Turnpike System became effective on February 7, 1995. The resolution establishing an automatic biennial toll increase based on the Consumer Price Index was repealed by the new Authority on February 16, 1995.

  • In January 1998, the Executive and Legislative Bond Oversight Commissions approved the Authority to issue up to $724,055,000 of Turnpike Revenue Bonds for the purpose of constructing five new turnpike projects. The five Projects included: the completion of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike from Hefner Parkway to I-40, the extension of the Creek Turnpike from the Turner Turnpike to US-75 and from the Mingo Expressway (US-169) to the Will Rogers Turnpike, the construction of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike Spur from Mustang Road East and south to the junction of SH-9 and US-62 south of Newcastle, and the purchase of right-of-way on the Muskogee Turnpike. Increased turnpike system revenues will be required to support the proposed Project Financings. As a part of the application, it was stated that increased turnpike revenues would be necessary in order to support these proposed project financings. It was estimated that a toll increase sufficient to generate a 15% revenue increase would need to be implemented on January 1, 2001.

  • On March 26, 1998, the Authority passed a resolution establishing the time schedule for adoption of new toll rates and charges for Non-PIKEPASS customers and for PIKEPASS customers.

  • Bonds in the total amount of $687.01 million were issued by competitive sale in two bond issues, the 1998 Series A Revenue Bonds in the amount of $350 million on May 12, 1998, and the 1998 Series B Revenue Bonds in the amount of $337.01 on July 14, 1998. Because of extensive marketing presentations and good ratings by Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, the 1998 Series A Revenue Bonds sold at very competitive interest rates ranging from 4.125% to 6%, or a true interest cost of 5.16%. The 1998 Series B Revenue Bonds sold at even more competitive rates ranging from 5% to 5.5%, or a true interest cost of 5.08%.

  • On August 5, 1998, a groundbreaking ceremony was held to mark the beginning of 16.3 miles of construction on the John Kilpatrick Extension in Oklahoma City.

  • The Oklahoma Legislature and Governor Keating conveyed their confidence in the Authority by authorizing a bill to change the name of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to the Oklahoma Transportation Authority effective November 1, 1999. The name change reflects the expanding mission and the entrepreneurial spirit that the Authority has nurtured throughout its long heritage in Oklahoma.

  • On March 30, 1999, a groundbreaking ceremony marked the beginning of 21.2 miles of construction of the Creek East and Broken Arrow Turnpike Extensions and the 4.8 miles of construction on the Creek West Turnpike Extension.

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2000's
  • On January 12, 2000, the first two miles of the Kilpatrick Extension was opened to traffic. This section, from Portland to MacArthur, was completed and opened six months ahead of schedule.

  • On September 1, 2000, the next 5.3 miles, from MacArthur to N.W. Highway, of the Kilpatrick Extension was opened to traffic.

  • On December 15, 2000, the new Creek West Extension, from the Turner Turnpike to U.S. 75, was opened to traffic.

  • An increase in tolls for both cash customers and PIKEPASS customers based upon a new axle-based classification system establishing five classes of vehicles from 2-axle to 6-axle became effective on the Oklahoma Turnpike System on January 1, 2001, consistent with the provisions of the 1998 Bond Financing Plan.

  • On January 31, 2001, the final section of the Kilpatrick Extension, from N.W. Highway to I-40, was opened to traffic.

  • On August 15, 2001, a 5.3-mile piece of the Creek Turnpike Extension from Highway 169 to 161st E Ave. opened to traffic.

  • On October 19, 2001, the H.E. Bailey Spur, an 8.2 mile four-lane, limited access, urban highway from an interchange of the existing H.E. Bailey Turnpike to S.H. 9, opened to traffic.

  • On November 20, 2001, the first section of the Creek East Extension from 101st St. to the Muskogee Turnpike opened to traffic.

  • On April 15, 2002, a 4.2-mile section of the Creek Turnpike Extension from 161st St E. Ave. to 101st St. opened to traffic.

  • On May 14, 2002, the Authority issued $314,065,000 of Series 2002A Refunding Second Senior Revenue Bonds, and $255,575,000 of Series 2002B Refunding Second Senior Revenue Bonds. The Series 2002 Bonds were issued for the purpose of refunding the remaining Series 1989 Revenue Bonds, the Series 1992A-E Revenue Bonds and portions of the 1992F and 1992G Bonds and in effect decreased the Authority’s aggregate debt service payments by approximately $50.9 million over the next 20 years. This action also resulted in a present value cash-basis gain (difference between the present value of the old and new debt service payments) of approximately $32,583,380.

  • On May 15, 2002, SH 266 Interchange on the Will Rogers Turnpike opened to traffic. This new interchange at SH 266 provided two gateways from Will Rogers Turnpike to the communities of Claremore and Catoosa.

  • On August 16, 2002, the final section of the Creek East Turnpike, connecting the Muskogee Turnpike to the terminus of the Will Rogers Turnpike, opened to traffic.

  • The Oklahoma Legislature & Governor Henry supported the Authority by authorizing a bill to change the Oklahoma Transportation Authority's name back to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority effective Nov. 1, 2005. The name change reflects the agency's desire to eliminate public confusion by reverting back to our previous name.

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