Turnpikes of Oklahoma
Oklahoma has an extensive turnpike system, maintained by the state government through the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. All of Oklahoma's turnpikes are controlled-access highways. The majority have at least four lanes, though the Chickasaw Turnpike is two lanes.
Tolls on Oklahoma's turnpikes are collected through several methods, particular to each turnpike, involving mainline and sidegate toll plazas. Tolls can be paid through cash (at either unmanned exact-change bays or manned booths, depending on the plaza) or through the Pikepass transponder system.
- The Cherokee Turnpike is part of U.S. Highway 412 (US-412) in eastern Oklahoma,
- The Chickasaw Turnpike connects US-177 just north of Sulphur to State Highway 1 (SH-1) south of Ada. The turnpike is two lanes for its entire length.
- The Cimarron Turnpike begins at Interstate 35 (I-35) in Noble County (east of Enid) and ends in the western suburbs of Tulsa. The turnpike is part of US-412. It also has a spur to the southwest to US-177 north of Stillwater.
- The Creek Turnpike runs around the outskirts of Tulsa, forming a southern bypass of Tulsa's core area. The Creek Turnpike terminates at I-44 on both ends, and acts as a bridge between the Turner and Will Rogers Turnpikes.
- The H. E. Bailey Turnpike serves southwestern Oklahoma and is part of I-44. The H.E. Bailey turnpike has two separate parts, with a free section running through eastern Lawton. This turnpike connects Wichita Falls, Texas to Lawton, Chickasha, and Oklahoma City. It has a spur to the east, the Norman Spur, towards Newcastle and Goldsby.
- The Indian Nation Turnpike passes through southeast Oklahoma, beginning at Hugo and angling northwest to end at I-40 south of Henryetta.
- The Kilpatrick Turnpike runs through the north and west sides of the Oklahoma City metro, running from I-40 to I-35/I-44, where it becomes the Turner Turnpike. This route acts as one quarter of a pseudo-beltway, proving access to the suburbs of Yukon and Edmond. An extension to SH-152 is planned to start construction sometime in late 2016.
- The Muskogee Turnpike begins at SH-51 in Broken Arrow and continues southeast to Muskogee. A second section of the turnpike connects Muskogee to I-40 at Webbers Falls. The two sections are connected by a freeway, carrying part of SH-165.
- The Turner Turnpike was Oklahoma's first turnpike, connecting Oklahoma City and Tulsa. The Turner Turnpike parallels historic US-66 (now SH-66), and carries I-44.
- The Will Rogers Turnpike connects Tulsa to the Missouri state line near Joplin. Like the Turner Turnpike, this turnpike serves as a parallel route to US-66 and carries I-44. The rest area near Vinita is promoted as containing the World's Largest McDonald's.
Surveyed but not built
Shortly after the Turner Turnpike was built in 1953, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority proposed other toll roads including one to be built from Oklahoma City north to the Kansas border near Braman to tie in with the southern terminus of the Kansas Turnpike at the state line. That routing was included as part of the Federal Highway Act of 1956 which created the Interstate Highway System. As a result, the OTA could not obtain financing to build that proposed turnpike and turned the initial plans including surveys and blueprints over to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in 1956 for the construction of I-35 as a freeway on that same alignment, which was completed in several stages between 1958 and 1962.
Also proposed but never built was a toll road roughly following what would later become I-35 between Oklahoma City and the Red River north of Gainesville, Texas that included a spur route veering from the main route north of Ardmore veering northeastward past Ada to tie in with the Turner Turnpike near Stroud, Oklahoma.
Pikepass is the electronic toll collection system used by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Created in 1990 and launched on January 1, 1991, Pikepass provides a faster and cheaper alternative in paying cash tolls. The authority also saves millions with the system. Most customers pay an initial $40 in prepaid tolls, which they can refill at their own convenience or have funds automatically withdrawn to replenish the account if it falls below $10–15. Pikepass usage results in a 5% savings up front and customers with 20 or more uses of the Pikepass receive a credit of 5% of their toll charges for that month. The Pikepass device has been tested by the manufacturer to accurately record toll usage at speeds up to 123 miles per hour (198 km/h).
- August 10, 2014: North Texas Tollway Authority (TollTag).
- November 1, 2014: Kansas Turnpike Authority (K-Tag).
- May 7, 2019: became interoperable with the remaining two Texas tags (Texas Department of Transportation [TxTag], and Harris County Toll Road Authority [EZ TAG]).
- Pikepass is not compatible with transponders from the E-ZPass System, though NationalPass holders may use both.
On October 29, 2015, Governor Mary Fallin announced Driving Forward, a $1.2 billion turnpike package. New turnpike corridors included in the package are a 2 1⁄2-mile (4.0 km) tolled extension of the Gilcrease Expressway in Tulsa; the Kickapoo Turnpike, a 21-mile (34 km) connection between I-40 and the Turner Turnpike in eastern Oklahoma County; and a 7-mile (11 km) extension of the Kilpatrick Turnpike southeast to SH-152 near Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City. The package also provides funding for safety improvement projects on the H.E. Bailey, Muskogee, and Turner turnpikes. The projects are to be funded by bonds issued by OTA; no tax monies will be spent on the projects. The projects began in the third quarter of 2016, with the three safety improvement projects completed as of December 2018.
The turnpike system has received criticism from many, most notably from Gary Richardson, former U.S. Attorney and candidate for Governor of Oklahoma in 2002 and 2018, who has called for the abolition of the Turnpike Authority. Critics have noted the lack of revenue from turnpikes that actually goes to the state of Oklahoma.
- Pearson, Janet (November 17, 1990). "Toll Booths Going High-Tech". Tulsa World. Retrieved June 14, 2007.[permanent dead link]
- Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. "Interoperability: Using My Pikepass with North Texas Tollway". Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Behlmann, Emily (April 14, 2014). "K-TAG/Pike Pass Interoperability Part of Larger Push Toward Electronic Tolling". Wichita Business Journal. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
- Begley, Dug (June 19, 2016). "Local toll tags going national, eventually". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved September 23, 2016.
- "TransCore launches service to offer toll interoperability across the USA". Traffic Technology Today. May 23, 2016.
- Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. "Driving Forward OK". Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Retrieved November 19, 2015.
- Miller, Brian (August 8, 2016). "Oklahoma Turnpikes collect record amount of toll money, state does not profit from toll revenue". KJRH Tulsa. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
- Murphy, Sean (April 24, 2017). "Tulsa Attorney Gary Richardson to Run for Governor in 2018". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved November 1, 2017.