The Director of Public Works for Oklahoma City, Eric Wenger, held a press conference updating information on the plans surrounding the repair of the collapsed May Ave. bridge over Northwest Expressway.
As of Friday, both the bridge and NW Expressway are shut down as crews continue to assess the situation. Wenger asked travelers to avoid the area and use detours to keep congestion in the area at a minimum.
Wenger said the city considers this an emergency project. That means the city will have funds to proceed with repairs immediately. He says the hope is to have NW Expressway reopened, at least partially, as early as next week. On a normal day, Wenger said 20,000 cars use the bridge and 30,000 travel on NW Expressway under the bridge.
As for the May Avenue bridge, there is no set schedule of when it will reopen until damage assessments are completed. At the press conference, Wenger indicated it could be two to three months for repair.
Removal of the damaged section of the bridge is estimated to cost $55,000. Wenger said the plan is only for repair, since the eastbound side of the bridge was unharmed.
The driver’s name has been released by the Oklahoma City Police Department as Matthew Haney. He was driving a tractor-trailer rig on Northwest Expressway when it crashed into the May Avenue bridge around 2:40 p.m. on Thursday. This caused the bridge to partially fall.
For commuters, signs are in all directions of May Avenue and Northwest Expressway to alert drivers of road closures. Traffic from Northwest Expressway is being diverted to the ramps north and southbound May Avenue. The ramps don’t use the bridge.
Traffic on May Avenue is being directed to use alternate routes including N.W. 63rd and N.W. 50th streets. Local access to roads and businesses on May between N.W. 63rd and N.W. 50th are still open except for the bridge.
Crews will begin to remove the damage Friday evening into the weekend depending on weather. Wenger hopes the damage removal will be done by early next week. It will then be re-inspected for safety to see if the road can be opened to traffic on Northwest Expressway.