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ODOT Make Progress In Fixing Bridge Between Purcell And Lexington

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The James C. Nance Bridge over the Canadian River was closed last week after the discovery of several cracks in the bridge's truss beams. The James C. Nance Bridge over the Canadian River was closed last week after the discovery of several cracks in the bridge's truss beams.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation made another step forward in the process of fixing and re-opening the James C. Nance bridge that connects Purcell and Lexington.

The bridge was closed down on January 31 after inspectors deemed it to be unsafe. Since then, business owners and commuters have complained about the problems the closure has caused.

According to ODOT, the bridge was closed after 17 cracks were found by inspectors on some of the 264 load-bearing areas of the bridge. ODOT crews have been taking steps to prevent more cracks from developing but the next step will be to get a contractor in place to make additional repairs and install reinforcements at each of the 264 places on the bridge.

"They're going to put in two splints of either side of the area of the crack and running a rod through to where even if the crack was formed again, then the weight of the bridge and the amount of weight that would be on this bridge could still be sustained by the repairs we're putting in place," said Terri Angier with ODOT.

ODOT's guidelines for the project include a $5million base repair estimate. The contractor will have to complete all repairs within 120 and have the bridge open to passenger cars within 45 days. Angier said ODOT expects bidders to come in with an even shorter timetable and said there are big incentives to finish early.

2/3/2014 Related Story: Bridge Connecting Purcell, Lexington Closed For Several Months

Angier said for every hour the contractor finishes repairs early they will receive $1,500 but if they get the bridge open to passenger cars before their estimate, the payment bumps up to $2,500.

ODOT has national and local inspectors who specialize in fracture-critical bridges who will inspect the bridge as repairs are made and will have the final say on when the bridge it safe enough to open, according to Angier.

"The design being from a highly reputable firm, we feel very confident that this bridge will be safe for people to drive on."

The repairs must also extend the bridge's use for another decade, when ODOT plans on building a replacement bridge. ODOT plan on hiring a contractor Friday afternoon and will start the clock to finish the work at 5pm that same day.

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