A miscalculation is being blamed for a partial bridge collapse in Northwest Oklahoma City. A semi-truck with a tall load hit the May Avenue bridge over the Northwest Expressway.
The city hopes to reopen some of the roads in the area as early as Friday. But it may take several months before the intersection is fully functioning.
Just four inches made all the difference for the driver of a Sunbelt Rentals semi-truck on Northwest Expressway Thursday afternoon.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department says earlier in the day, he drove under the May Avenue bridge headed east. There, his truck had a 14 feet 8-inch clearance.
But over the westbound lanes, the bridge stands 14 feet 4-inches above the road.
Fire officials say the semi's boom lift was too tall and caused the bridge to collapse.
5/19/16 Related Story: Semi Crash Collapses NB May Ave. Bridge Onto Northwest Expressway
“It’s not very often though that we do see a bridge hit and actually completely fail like we had today,” said Eric Wegner, Oklahoma City’s Public Works Director.
This forced traffic in all directions to be diverted, causing traffic backups in the area.
City engineers told News 9 a plan is already in the works to reopen the roads.
Their initial assessments found the bridge is repairable and will not need to be replaced.
“Our goal is to demolish the existing portion that's damaged as quickly as possible, reevaluate the bridge and if we can open up road that are not damaged we will do that very quickly,” said Wegner.
It's possible parts of Northwest Expressway could reopen as early as Friday, while it may take several months to complete the repairs on the northbound lanes of May Avenue.
As for the driver, he was not injured though police say it's possible he may be ticketed for the accident.
To speed up repairs the city says it will front the bill, but insurance could reimburse them later. The city couldn't give an estimate on how much it will cost.