Will Rogers Turnpike

Last updated

Will Rogers Turnpike.svg

Will Rogers Turnpike
Will Rogers turnpike-path.png
Route information
Length88.5 mi [1] (142.4 km)
ExistedJune 28, 1957 [2] [3] –present
I-44.svg I-44 entire length
Major junctions
West endI-44.svgUS 412.svgCreek Turnpike.svg I-44 / US-412 / Creek Turnpike in Tulsa
 US 69.svg US-69 in Big Cabin
US 59.svgUS 60.svg US-59 / US-60 east of Afton
East endI-44.svg I-44 at the Missouri state line
Counties Rogers, Mayes, Craig, Ottawa
Highway system
Oklahoma State Highway System

The Will Rogers Turnpike is a freeway-standard toll road in the northeast portion of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The highway begins as a continuation of the Creek Turnpike in Tulsa, continuing northward from the I-44/US-412 interchange there to the Missouri state line west of Joplin, Missouri. The turnpike carries the I-44 designation for its entire length. The turnpike is 88.5 miles (142.4 km) long and costs $4.75 (for a two-axle vehicle) to drive one way. The Will Rogers Turnpike opened to traffic on June 28, 1957. It was designated as I-44 in 1958. It is named for Will Rogers, "Oklahoma's Favorite Son".

Toll road roadway for which a fee (or toll) is assessed for passage

A toll road, also known as a turnpike or tollway, is a public or private road for which a fee is assessed for passage. It is a form of road pricing typically implemented to help recoup the cost of road construction and maintenance.

U.S. state constituent political entity of the United States

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.


Route description

Eastern terminus of the Will Rogers Turnpike at the Oklahoma-Missouri state line Will Rogers Turnpike.jpg
Eastern terminus of the Will Rogers Turnpike at the Oklahoma–Missouri state line

The Will Rogers Turnpike begins at an interchange between I-44, US-412, and the Creek Turnpike on the northeast side of Tulsa, straddling the line between Wagoner County and Rogers County. The Creek Turnpike ends at this interchange, with northbound Creek Turnpike traffic continuing onto the Will Rogers Turnpike. I-44 eastbound traffic also merges into the turnpike here. The turnpike heads north to its first interchange, which provides an exit to East Pine Street for westbound traffic and an entrance to the eastbound turnpike. North of the Pine Street interchange, the highway curves to a more northeast course, crossing the Verdigris River. In Verdigris, the turnpike has an interchange at the eastern terminus of SH-266. The turnpike continues northeast to Claremore, county seat of Rogers County, where it junctions SH-20; it also passes under SH-88 in Claremore, with no access provided between the two highways. The turnpike then continues northeast out of Rogers County. [4]

The Creek Turnpike, also designated State Highway 364 (SH-364), is a 33.22-mile-long (53.46 km) freeway-standard toll road that lies entirely in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The turnpike forms a partial beltway around the south and east sides of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city. The Creek Turnpike's western terminus is at the Turner Turnpike in Sapulpa, while its northeastern terminus is at the Will Rogers Turnpike in Fair Oaks; both ends of the Creek Turnpike connect with Interstate 44 (I-44). Along the way, the highway passes through the cities of Sapulpa, Jenks, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow, and the counties of Creek, Tulsa, Wagoner and Rogers. The road is maintained by the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA), except for a brief free section shared with U.S. Route 64 (US-64) and US-169. This free section is maintained by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).

Wagoner County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Wagoner County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 73,085. Its county seat is Wagoner.

Rogers County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Rogers County is a county located in the northeastern part of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 86,905, making it the sixth-largest county in Oklahoma based on population. Its county seat is Claremore. Rogers County is included in the Tulsa, OK Metropolitan Statistical Area.

After leaving Rogers County, the Will Rogers Turnpike enters Mayes County. The only interchange in Mayes County is a partial interchange with SH-28 west of Adair. Eastbound motorists can exit the turnpike at SH-28 and motorists on SH-28 can join the turnpike heading westbound. From this interchange, SH-28 continues northeast, entering Craig County. [4]

Mayes County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Mayes County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,259. Its county seat is Pryor Creek. Named for Samuel Houston Mayes, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1895 to 1899, it was originally created at the Sequoyah Convention in August 1905.

Adair, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Adair is a town in Mayes County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 790 at the 2010 census, compared to 704 at the 2000 census. Named for two prominent Cherokee brothers, the town was established in 1883. It opened a Cherokee school.

Craig County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Craig County is a county in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,029. Its county seat is Vinita. The county was organized in 1907, shortly before statehood, and named for Granville Craig, a prominent Cherokee farmer who lived in the Bluejacket area.

North of Big Cabin, the Will Rogers Turnpike comes to a junction with US-69. Just northeast of this interchange is the only mainline barrier toll plaza on the turnpike. After the toll plaza, the highway passes under the McDonald's restaurant at the Vinita service plaza (see below). On the east side of Vinita, the road comes to an interchange with US-60 and US-69. From Vinita, the turnpike continues northeast out of Craig County. [4]

Big Cabin, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Big Cabin is a town in Craig County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 265 at the 2010 census, a decrease of 9.6 percent from 293 at the 2000 census.

McDonalds American fast food restaurant chain

McDonald's is an American fast food company, founded in 1940 as a restaurant operated by Richard and Maurice McDonald, in San Bernardino, California, United States. They rechristened their business as a hamburger stand, and later turned the company into a franchise, with the Golden Arches logo being introduced in 1953 at a location in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1955, Ray Kroc, a businessman, joined the company as a franchise agent and proceeded to purchase the chain from the McDonald brothers. McDonald's had its original headquarters in Oak Brook, Illinois, but moved its global headquarters to Chicago in early 2018.

Vinita, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Vinita is a city in south-central Craig County, in northeastern Oklahoma, United States. It is the county seat of Craig County. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,743, a decrease of 11.22 percent from 6,469 at the 2000 census.

The final county that the Will Rogers Turnpike serves is Ottawa County. The first interchange in Ottawa County lies northeast of Afton; here, motorists can access US-59, US-60, and US-69. The turnpike continues to its final interchange, near the county seat, Miami. This interchange serves SH-10. Just north of this interchange is a welcome center for westbound traffic. The highway continues northeast to the state line. I-44 continues east into Newton County, Missouri toward Joplin and Springfield. [4]

Ottawa County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Ottawa County is a county located in the northeastern corner of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 31,848. Its county seat is Miami. The county was named for the Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma. It is also the location of the federally recognized Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma and the Quapaw Tribe of Indians, which is based in Quapaw.

Afton, Oklahoma Town in Oklahoma, United States

Afton is a town in southwest Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 1,049 as of the 2010 census, with population growth stemming from the near abandonment of nearby towns of Cardin and Picher because of ground contamination sites by local mining quarries. The town may have been named for the Scottish River Afton.

Miami, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Miami is a city in and county seat of Ottawa County, Oklahoma, United States, founded in 1891. Lead and zinc mining established by 1918, caused it to boom. It is the capital of the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma, after which it is named, the Modoc Tribe of Oklahoma, Ottawa Tribe of Oklahoma, Peoria Tribe of Indians and Shawnee Tribe. As of the 2010 census, it had 13,570 inhabitants, a one percent decline since 2000.


Because the Will Rogers Turnpike was built prior to authorization of the Interstate Highway System (in 1956), it uses a different set of design standards than today's. As the road has been rebuilt, this is being brought in line with current design practice.

Interstate Highway System United States highway system

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, commonly known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways that forms part of the National Highway System in the United States. The system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who championed its formation. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and the original portion was completed 35 years later, although some urban routes were cancelled and never built. The network has since been extended. In 2016, it had a total length of 48,181 miles (77,540 km). As of 2016, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system. In 2006, the cost of construction was estimated at about $425 billion.

The original route of the Turnpike continued straight into and through Tulsa, becoming Skelly Drive in town (where tolls are not charged). The westernmost portion of the Will Rogers Turnpike was modified so that the Creek and Will Rogers Turnpikes form one road, with motorists required to exit at an interchange to stay on I-44. The original interchange was changed due to numerous difficulties for semis trying to merge into the single lane going to I-44 and Route 66. The new interchange was incorporated into an upgrade of US 412, with provisions for future expansion of the turnpike over a decade later, creating the Creek Turnpike bypass around the Metropolitan area, connecting back to the Turner Turnpike. The remaining pavement of the old alignment is now used as a training ground for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, among others.


A two-axle vehicle currently pays $4.75 ($4.40 with Pikepass) to drive the full length of the Turnpike. The Will Rogers Turnpike (as well as the Turner Turnpike on the other side of Tulsa) uses a somewhat unusual tolling system. The Turnpike has only one barrier toll plaza, located southwest of Vinita, at which drivers pay the full toll and are issued a receipt. If one exits before reaching this plaza, the toll for the portion traveled is collected at the exit. If one's desired exit is located after the plaza, the motorist presents their receipt to the attendant, and the fare for the untraveled portion of the turnpike is refunded to the driver. Travelers exiting the turnpike westbound at Port of Catoosa or Pine Street, as well as at the two termini do not receive any refund. A similar situation exists for motorists entering the turnpike at an interchange. If one is entering in the direction away from the main toll plaza, the toll for the portion between the interchange and the terminus is collected at the ramp plaza; a refund receipt is still issued should the motorist exit at another interchange. Motorists entering in the direction toward the toll plaza are issued a ticket at the interchange which shows proof of entry. This ticket is then presented to the toll collector at the main toll plaza (or the desired exit, if before the main plaza), and the fare for the untraveled portion of the turnpike is deducted from their toll. This system was implemented in 1992. [5]


Law enforcement along the Will Rogers Turnpike is provided by Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop XA, a special troop assigned to the turnpike. [6]

Vinita service plaza

A view of the Vinita McDonald's from the westbound parking lot VinitaMCD Parking.JPG
A view of the Vinita McDonald's from the westbound parking lot

The Will Rogers Turnpike's most prominent service plaza lies between the toll plaza and the Vinita exit. The main feature of this toll plaza is a 29,135-square-foot (2,706.7 m2) McDonald's bridge restaurant spanning the turnpike. Customers can view the traffic passing beneath the restaurant from the dining area through windows overlooking the highway. At the front of the west anchor stands a statue of Will Rogers. A separate Phillips 66 gas station is also available for both directions of travel at the plaza.

The architecture of the McDonald's building is dominated by golden arches on both sides of the building that appear from a distance to be not only the corporate symbol of the chain, but the primary supports for a steel arch bridge structure over the turnpike. Visitors to the eatery exit from either side of the interstate, and then enter through one of the sides and then proceed to the restaurant level via stairs or an elevator.

The building hosting the McDonald's restaurant was originally built when the turnpike opened in 1957 as one of the Glass House restaurants, owned by the now-defunct Interstate Hosts company. Because of this heritage, it is also known as the "Glass House McDonald's" and the "McDonald's Glass House Restaurant". Later, the building also operated as a Howard Johnson's restaurant. [7]

The McDonald's is purported to be the "world's largest." However, the biggest temporary McDonald's in the world was opened during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which had 3,000-square-metre (32,000 sq ft) but it was demolished after the 2012 Summer Olympics. [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13]

The building and service plaza closed on June 4, 2013, for a complete renovation. It reopened on December 22, 2014 with a McDonald's, Subway, and Kum & Go gas stations. It reopened as the Will Rogers Archway. [14] [15]

Exit list

Exit numbers follow I-44 unless otherwise noted.

CountyLocationmi [16] kmExitDestinationsNotes
Rogers Fair Oaks 0.000.00Oklahoma State Highway 364.svgCreek Turnpike.svg SH-364 / Creek Turnpike west Oklahoma City Continuation beyond I-44
0.40.6434I-44.svgUS 412.svgOklahoma State Highway 66.svg I-44 / US-412 west to SH-66  Tulsa Western terminus of I-44 concurrency; exit number based on a continuation of Creek Tpk. mileposts
Catoosa 241Circle sign 66.svg SH-66 east Catoosa East Tulsa Interchange; closed; was westbound exit only on old alignment
1.32.135E. Pine StreetWestbound exit and eastbound entrance; exit number based on a continuation of Creek Tpk. mileposts
Verdigris 5.69.0248Oklahoma State Highway 266.svg SH-266 west Port of Catoosa, Claremore
Claremore 12.820.6255Oklahoma State Highway 20.svg SH-20  Pryor, Claremore
Mayes 28.345.5269Oklahoma State Highway 28.svg SH-28  Chelsea, South Grand Lake, Adair Eastbound exit and westbound entrance
Craig Big Cabin 41.266.3283US 69.svg US-69  Big Cabin
44.371.3Toll plaza
Vinita 46.875.3Service plaza
47.876.9289US 60.svgOklahoma State Highway 66.svg US-60 (US-69) to SH-66  Vinita
Ottawa 60.597.4302US 59.svgUS 60.svg US-59 / US-60 (US-69) Fairland, Grove, Afton
Miami 71.7115.4313Oklahoma State Highway 10.svg SH-10  Miami
Oklahoma–Missouri line87.9141.5I-44.svg I-44 eastContinuation into Missouri; eastern terminus of I-44 concurrency
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See also

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