Patchy crosstown worries commuters

Wednesday, August 27th 2008, 8:52 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The state's Department of Transportation continues to encourage drivers to utilize the Interstate 40 crosstown, despite the numerous patching crews that have worked to restore the stretch.

The latest hole in need of repair was discovered Tuesday, located just west of the crosstown bridge at the I-40 and I-44 junction.

As the repairs continue, some motorists worry about the safety of using the patchy stretch of road.

"I've got one driver that's scared stiff of it," commuter Keith Moran said. "He'd rather go down Reno than drive on the bridge."

The 43-year-old bridge shows its age as areas of exposed rebar can be easily seen. The bridge also has cracks large enough for light to shine through.

Although the bridge has sustained many repairs, ODOT assures commuters the crosstown is safe to use.

"We monitor the I-40 crosstown bridge and the structural integrity of that bridge probably as close or closer than any other bridge in the state," Chief Engineer John Fuller said.

Fuller said the bridge structure is safe, and that it's not going to collapse. He said the problem is the concrete decking, which has been weakened by years of wear and tear.

"We usually see those holes after we've had one to three days of continuous wet weather, and certainly freeze frost cycles in the wintertime," Fuller said.

Fuller said he continues to use the crosstown and other motorists can feel safe driving it as well.

"They should drive it being alert and with caution," Fuller said. "Even if there wasn't a threat of potholes in that deck."

The ultimate solution to the growing problem of potholes comes with the progress and construction of a new crosstown.

The new I-40 alignment is scheduled to open in 2012.

The crosstown opened in 1965 when the daily traffic count was, at most, around 75,000 vehicles. It is now estimated 125,000 cars and trucks use the crosstown every day.