Emergency Declared Over Crumbling Belle Isle Bridge

Monday, May 4th 2015, 5:09 pm
By: Karl Torp

Driving under the Belle Isle Bridge can be a little nerve racking if you look up. The bridge is crumbling. And ODOT only discovered the problem after routine maintenance, which is performed every two years.

ODOT compares the problem to doing a home improvement remodel and finding out you have termites.

“We find ourselves wanting to do a little renovation and it turns into a major reconstruction,” said ODOT Direct Mike Patterson.

The bridge is crumbling from an excess of water and salt, used to keep the bridge from getting slick during the winter, leaking down into the concrete piers.

5/4/2015 Related Story: ODOT To Update On Belle Isle Bridge Repairs

On Monday, ODOT got the go ahead to fix the problem after Oklahoma's Transportation Commission declared the bridge an “Emergency.”

ODOT says it spends an estimated $7 million to address serious structural issue on half of the Belle Isle Bridge's 95 total piers. There is not a timetable on the construction, but ODOT says contracts being awarded will have aggressive incentives with hopes of getting the work done as quickly as possible.

One lane going east on I-44 and another west are currently closed due to the repairs. ODOT hopes to have them back open in June.

Despite what the bridge looks like, ODOT says it's safe for its 100,000 daily vehicles.

Overweight vehicles, like loaded up semi trucks, will not be able to pass during construction.