Repairs have begun for one of Oklahoma's most dangerous bridges. Drivers have long complained about the state Highway 20 bridge over the Verdigris River. It's located between Owasso and Claremore in Rogers County.
The bridge is riddled with patches. But soon, that will be a thing of the past. News on 6 anchor Craig Day says 8,000 vehicles a day typically travel across the state Highway 20 bridge over the Verdigris River.
With construction, that now means 8,000 drivers trying to find another way to get to the other side. "My recommendation is to go up through Oologah. Because if not you're going to go all the way into Tulsa." Long a headache for maintenance crews and a migraine for drivers, the bridge is being resurfaced. Nearby resident, Linda Davis: "Driving over a washboard. That's exactly what it's like. It's horrible."
The old decking will be ripped out and replaced. Beams below the deck will also be fixed. Traffic along Highway 20 will be rerouted to highways 266 and 88. But both of those detours are approximately 30 miles each.
So people who normally would drive across the bridge are urged to give themselves a lot of extra time to get where they're going. And time is valuable, especially to delivery driver Floyd Eakle. "It's probably going to cut at least another 30 minutes off. I have door times I have to meet and things like that."
The bridge will be closed for up to 75 days. But when it's finished, the drive will be much safer and a whole lots smoother, which is something those 8,000 motorists each day look forward to.
But for now they'll have to search out a solution to their driving dilemma. Gary McCall: "I just need to go across the deal over there. You ain't got no boat ready, so I guess I'll go around."
The project will cost about a million dollars. The contractor has incentives of $3,000 each day for finishing the project early.