Survey reveals metro bridges rank high needing repair

Thursday, July 31st 2008, 5:52 pm
By: News 9

By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9

A recent survey shows several of the top 20 structurally deficient bridges in the state are located in the metro.

Over 110,000 cars travel across it every day and patchwork seems to be done on the Crosstown Bridge more often than not.

"The holes need to be fixed, and we do that quickly, but people shouldn't worry," Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Gary Ridley said.

The repairs are leaving some drivers questioning whether or not it is structurally sound.

"No one is in any danger," Ridley said. "If you drive across the Crosstown you will see different texture and different colors of concrete as you drive across, every one of those holes have been fixed."

The survey shows in the Sooner State the busiest traffic troubled bridges are in the two biggest counties; four of them in Oklahoma County. The one that tops them all is the Interstate 40 Crosstown Bridge.

"It does not mean any bridge in the state is in imminent danger of collapse," Chris Ramseyer with the OU Fears Structural Engineering Lab said. "We have the worst bridges in the U.S. right now."

Ramseyer studies bridges and said by definition structurally deficient could simply mean the bridge is carrying a much heavier load than it was designed to carry.

"Infrastructure has slowly degraded over time," Ramseyer said. "We're in the process of bringing it back up."

It has been nearly one year since the Interstate 35 West Bridge in Minnesota killed over a dozen people. It is a tragedy like this that leaves some to wonder if this could happen in the metro.

"They are worried about it," Ramseyer said. "There is some issue to crack, but they can't fix everything instantly because they don't have the money to do it."

While Ramseyer said Oklahoma needs more federal funding, Ridley said they are vigorously plotting out the most critical projects to alleviate the problem.

The top 20 busiest structurally deficient bridges:

1. Crosstown Bridge, Oklahoma County
2. U.S. 169 at Interstate-244, Tulsa County
3. Interstate-44 at Peoria Avenue, Tulsa County
4. I-244 ramp at 1st Street, Tulsa County
5-6. Ramps along the Inner Dispersal Loop, Tulsa County
7. Interstate 44 at Penn Avenue, Oklahoma County
8. I-44 Belle Isle Bridge westbound, Oklahoma County
9. I-44 Belle Isle Bridge eastbound, Oklahoma County
10. Broken Arrow Expressway over St. Louis, Tulsa County
11. Broken Arrow Expressway over Utica, Tulsa County
12. I-44 westbound at Reno, Oklahoma County
13. I-44 eastbound at Reno, Oklahoma County
14. I-240 over Crooked Creek tributary, Oklahoma County
15. U.S. 169 over 51st, Tulsa County
16. U.S. 169 over 51st/railroad, Tulsa County
17. I-35 northbound over Deep Fork Creek, Oklahoma County
18. I-35 southbound over Deep Fork Creek, Oklahoma County
19. I-35 at Sooner Road over unnamed creek, Oklahoma County
20. U.S. 64 at Denver Avenue (southern side of IDL), Tulsa County
Source: Oklahoma Department of Transportation