TULSA, Oklahoma - The 23rd Street bridge in west Tulsa will be closed to all traffic for eight months while three spans of the bridge are replaced and several piers are reconfigured and improved, ODOT officials said Friday.

ODOT Division Manager Randle White said the $13.5 million project is expected to begin this summer but that ODOT will not know when the bridge will be closed until the contract is awarded in the spring.

“We certainly understand it is going to be an inconvenience to the public,” White said. “So we want to give the contractor an incentive to get done sooner.”

The project includes replacing three spans of the 23rd Street bridge; reconfiguring and adding crash pads to several of the bridge’s piers, and replacing the ramp bridge that runs from Interstate 244 to 21st Street. It also includes work on the 1,000-foot-long 23rd Street bridge and the 700-foot-long I-244 ramp bridge.

The 23rd Street bridge, built in 1962, is on ODOT’s list of deficient bridges and is scheduled for replacement, White said. The crash pads are being installed on several bridge piers that were hit by derailed trains.

“The last two years we have had to have four repair projects” on the piers, White said.

City Councilor Jeannie Cue on Thursday said she was told the project was put on hold after she voiced concerns about the closure’s impact on traffic, public safety and businesses.

“This (planning) has been going on for two years and I found out by luck,” Cue said. “The problem is with all this industry and all of these workers here, if there is an emergency, how would emergency responders even get here?”