|Interstate 44 from beneath the West end|
|Interstate 44 from the southwest|
A steel stringer bridge was first built over the Arkansas River at South 51st Street in 1952. At that time US 66 passed through Tulsa on 11th Street and crossed the river 4 miles north, just west of downtown.
Interstate 44 was originally signed in 1958 as an interstate designation of the Turner Turnpike linking Oklahoma City and Tulsa and the Will Rogers Turnpike linking Tulsa and the Missouri state line southwest of Joplin, along with the US 66 bypass in Tulsa that linked that city with the two turnpikes. The old 51st street bridge was replaced by the present 4 lane bridge in 1982.
I-44 roughly parallels old US 66 from Chicago southwest to Oklahoma City. West of Oklahoma City it angles southwest of US 66 until it terminates in Wichita Falls, Texas. As usual an excellent history of US 66 can be found in Wikipedia. Note that the second photo is intended to place the first in context.