Engineers are hammering out a plan to reopen parts of May Avenue after a truck slammed into the bridge at Northwest Expressway.
Northwest Expressway reopened late Saturday, but engineers are still trying to figure out how to reopen the undamaged lanes of May Avenue.
“We do think there might be a partial opening of May Avenue, and that’s something that we’ll look at this week,” said Eric Wenger with the City of Oklahoma City.
There are four lanes of traffic on each end of the bridge, but only two lanes are undamaged. Crews have to figure out a way to merge traffic down to one lane each direction which is a challenge.
“The inspection that was completed for passing under the bridge also cleared us to reopen the undamaged lanes of May,” he said.
City bridges are inspected every other year, and the last inspection of this bridge was back in 2014.
“The previous inspection showed that there were some deck issues, some paving issues that needed to be repaired on the deck,” Wenger said. “There were also some painting issues that were starting to develop on some of the exposed steel.”
In addition, concrete cracks that needed to be addressed, but nothing structural was on the report that required immediate repair or a need to close the bridge. However, it is a much different story now.
“That complete section has to be replaced,” he said.
The rebuilding and restoring process alone could take two to three months and another eight to 10 weeks just to find and fabricate the steel.
“The upfront cost and the work that’s underway right now is all being paid by the City of Oklahoma City,” he said. “We do have funds in place to address emergencies like this, but there will most likely be some type of cost recovery possibly through insurance.”
So far, the City has spent about $55,000 on demolition, $60,000 for ongoing consulting services and will pay city workers, as well. The total cost will continue to increase as work is completed.