OKLAHOMA CITY - The bridge that collapsed in Florida Thursday was built using “accelerated bridge construction,” the same method used on the new bridge over Interstate 235 in Oklahoma City.

Dr. Royce Floyd, a civic engineering professor at Oklahoma University, says this is a common method.

“It's kind of a blanket statement to cover anything that allows you to build a bridge more quickly than a traditional type of construction where you build everything in place,” Floyd said of accelerated bridge construction.

The cause of the tragedy in Miami, which killed six people, is still undetermined.

Floyd said whatever happened, such a failure is unlikely in Oklahoma City, as the I-235 railroad bridge near I-44 is vetted, and made of steel.

“Steel is a very well-known material,” Floyd said.

The construction company behind the bridge in Oklahoma City, Allen Contracting Inc., has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Allen has also had no recent federal safety complaints. The company that built the Florida bridge had several.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation also released a statement Friday saying:

“The Oklahoma Department of Transportation's thoughts are with those who were affected by Thursday's tragic bridge collapse.

The department does not have any cable-stay bridges, like the one in Florida, on the highway or interstate system. 

While the specific causes of the Florida bridge collapse are still to be determined, there is a difference between the Accelerated Bridge Construction technique and the design of a bridge. 

The Accelerated Bridge Construction technique is about moving the bridge into place. In Florida, that stage was already complete. The design of the bridge, which is being reviewed now, is a separate consideration from the Accelerated Bridge Construction technique.

Recently, the department successfully installed a BNSF railroad bridge over I-235 that used a variation of the Accelerated Bridge Construction method, again, to move the bridge into place. The bridge was built as any truss bridge would be built, but it was assembled off-site, then moved into place and inspected and is already in use.

If ODOT had similar bridge concerns, the roadway would be closed and the bridge inspected immediately. “