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Keeping Track Of Bad Highway Bridges In Tulsa

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A look at the underside of the I-244 eastbound overpass over I-44 at the junction in east Tulsa A look at the underside of the I-244 eastbound overpass over I-44 at the junction in east Tulsa
An I-44 bridge over 177th East Avenue is pictured. An I-44 bridge over 177th East Avenue is pictured.
Oklahoma has 1,500 state bridges due for replacement. Oklahoma has 1,500 state bridges due for replacement.

By Emory Bryan

TULSA, OK -- While the I-44 bridge over 165th East Avenue in Catoosa has gotten a lot of attention over the past week other nearby highway bridges are actually rated worse.

The I-44 bridge had holes open up in the bridge decking last Friday and again Sunday morning.  Those holes and their repair  has caused the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to close lanes in both directions over 165th East Avenue.

Oklahoma has 1,500 state bridges due for replacement, but fewer than 600 will be replaced over the next eight years.

A bridge on I-44 at 177th East Avenue carries the same traffic as the bridge that's closed down. It's the same age and showing the same kind of wear, with big chunks missing - some of which were patched over with boards.

Bad Oklahoma Bridges

There's concrete scattered below - and plenty of patches up top. In one place on the shoulder, there's a hole clean through the decking.

While the 1958 model bridge is undersized and worn out - other bridges around it needed replacing first.

The 163rd East Avenue bridge replacement is underway - and will take a year to complete.  The unexpected holes in the bridge deck are proof it was in critical condition.

2/24/2010 Related story: ODOT Reopens One Westbound Lane Of I-44 At 161st East Avenue Junction

That bridge actually had an overall high rating - a 77 – before holes developed in it. The next bridge to the east, at 177th, is rated lower, at 61.

Just to the west, the eastbound I-244 bridge, over I-44, is rated much lower - at a 38. Concrete chunks have fallen out from the underside of the bridge deck, but the hole doesn't yet go all the way through.

There are plenty of signs that it's going to happen eventually, however. The reinforcing rods are exposed and rusting and as they weaken, so does the bridge deck. The supports have chunks missing too - with exposed rebar.

This much decay gives this bridge a low score overall, but it's not enough to bump it to the top of the list for repairs.

Use NewsOn6.com's Bridge Tracker to look up information on the state bridges you use.

 

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