OKC prepares for crosstown disaster

Thursday, March 6th 2008, 7:26 pm
By: News 9

By Jennifer Pierce, NEWS 9

City and state leaders are preparing for disaster. They're working on an emergency response that involves three major bridges in the metro, including the dilapidated Crosstown Expressway.

The Interstate 40 Crosstown Expressway was rated as one of the most unsafe bridges in the nation and has captured the attention of local emergency officials.

The Oklahoma City Emergency Management Office, local first-responders and state officials are all working together on the emergency plan in case a bridge in Oklahoma City collapses. 

"The plan is designed to coordinate their activities," said Sgt. Frank Barnes of Oklahoma City Emergency Management.

Brenda Perry of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said her organization would play a key role in preparing for a disaster.

"ODOT's role particularly immediately would be the flow of traffic, making sure the drivers are safe in the detour route," Perry said.

Perry said the Crosstown Expressway was built in 1965 and requires a lot of maintenance.

And it's not just the Crosstown Expressway that's involved in the disaster plans.

"They're looking at the I-40 Crosstown and the I-235 and at the Belle Isle Bridge," Perry said.

Incidentally, the Crosstown Expressway had a federal highway sufficiency rating which was one point lower than the Minnesota Bridge that collapsed.

Construction is underway on the new I-40 Crosstown Expressway. The $500 million project is expected to be complete in 2012.