Governor Mary Fallin saw first hand Friday morning how the closure of the James C. Nance bridge was affecting the Purcell and Lexington areas. Dozens were on hand as the governor addressed the public's concern.
Gov. Fallin issued a state of emergency for the areas affected by the bridge closure. Those communities will be eligible to receive up to $100,000 for issues caused by the state bridge closure, she said.
Local businesses were suffering a week after the Oklahoma Department of Transportation abruptly closed the bridge, citing cracks that threatened the structural integrity of the bridge. ODOT's Casey Shell told the group gathered at the Lexington Fire Department that a contract would most-likely be award on February 14th with work beginning on the bridge that night.
Shell added that the project would cost about $3 million and take about four months to complete but he was confident that passenger cars would have access to the bridge before all of the work is completed.
The news was met with applause from locals who have been dealing with a 70 mile, roundtrip detour between Lexington and Purcell. Gov. Fallin also announced a free shuttle service between the cities to help offset some of the fuel costs drivers have had to deal with during the past week.