Bridge Problems Causing Concerns For Kingfisher Residents

Thursday, October 9th 2014, 7:08 pm
By: News 9

As ODOT is repairing dozens of bridges across the state, one project on Highway 33 is raising concern for the City of Kingfisher. With traffic re-routed, big trucks are now using smaller bridges that can't support the weight.

"Our main concern is we have a bridge here on Robberts and another bridge on Bowman that aren't weight rated for heavy equipment," said Kingfisher City Manager Dave Slezickey.

Big trucks are riding over the bridges that have a 15-ton limit. A normal big rig carries at least twice that size. There are patrol cars to enforce the weight restriction, but that doesn't stop everybody, and the trucks it does stop face issues when trying to make a U-turn on the small roads.

The re-routing of traffic is all because construction that started on Monday to repair the well-traveled bridge on Highway 33.

"There are 800 to 1,000 people, who live out here in this area and east of Kingfisher, who rely heavily on Highway 33. So it's going to be an inconvenience to them until the new bridge opens and it's safe and in better condition," Slezickey said.

It's a different scene for residents living closest to the construction.

"Quieter, a lot quieter, and people don't know where to go, so they'll either turn around or go back," said 82-year-old Geraldine “Gerrie” Frakes.

Frakes has lived in Kingfisher all her life and says she hopes the smaller bridges will be able to withstand the heavier traffic.

"A lot of people in town have been worried about our bridges with the big trucks," Frakes said.

The city plans to put up some additional signs and anticipates having to repair its roads after construction is complete.

“Growth and progress is painful at times, but we're going to survive and make it through,” Slezickey said.

ODOT says the Highway 33 bridge is expected to be repaired by Summer 2015 costing $4 million.