I-35 to be clear of construction for OU-Texas weekend
Lauren Harned, The Oklahoma Daily
I-35 between Norman and Dallas will be construction-free this weekend as thousands of OU students and fans make their way to the Lone Star State for the Red River Rivalry.
Officials in the Oklahoma and Texas departments of transportation say they have prepared for a large volume of traffic.
“This is a huge traffic day,” said Cole Hackett, public information officer with ODOT. “We’re definitely aware of it, and we try to work around it.”
All lanes on I-35 will be open between Norman and Dallas, officials say.
“We’ll have all lanes open. Unless there’s an emergency situation, you won’t see any highway workers out there,” said Adele Lewis, Wichita Falls public information officer with TxDOT.
The high volume of traffic is something that TxDOT is aware of and plans around each year, Lewis said.
“We plan for this every year. We know,” Lewis said. “Sometimes, it’s in the contract itself [to not work on OU-Texas weekend].”
She said if a contract didn’t include a provision not to work this weekend, they would have given the contractor extra days so that the road would be open.
An alternate form of transportation can be found in the Heartland Flyer, an AMTRACK train that runs daily from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. About 350 OU fans chose this method of transportation last year, according to an ODOT press release.
Round-trip tickets can be purchased for $40 by calling 1-800-USA-RAIL and using the fare code X109, according to the press release.
The train will leave Santa Fe Station in Oklahoma City Friday morning at 8:25 and make stops in Norman, Purcell, Pauls Valley, Ardmore, Gainesville and Ft. Worth before arriving in Dallas’s Union Station at 2:10 p.m.
For up-to-date information, both departments of transportation have Twitter accounts they recommend drivers follow while not driving. Oklahoma’s Twitter page is OKDOT and the applicable Texas county Twitter pages are TxDOTWF and TxDOTDallasPIO.
Both ODOT and TxDOT officials caution drivers to leave early and be careful on the road.
“Make sure you leave plenty early so you’re not rushed and can get there safely,” Hackett said.