Drivers Facing Bumpy Ride Leading Up To Keystone Dam Bridge

Tuesday, June 2nd 2015, 8:11 pm
By: Tess Maune

All the rain that fell in May has many drivers dodging potholes and the Keystone Dam Bridge is no different.

The bridge was recently closed for 13 months as construction crews replaced the deck, now traffic is back down to one lane just six months after reopening.

11/14/14 Related Story: Keystone Dam Bridge Reopens After 13 Months Of Construction

The dam where all the roadwork was done last year is still in good shape, but the approaches leading up to the highway are deteriorating, which has some wondering why they were not part of the original construction project.

As construction crews cleaned up, a line of cars also waited to get to the other side of Keystone Dam.

While some may have been trying to get home or to work, Drumright resident Donnie Dinwiddie has to cross the dam if he wants to catch a big catfish.

“I come up here and fish all the time,” he said.

Dinwiddie remembers taking the detours while Highway 151 was closed for 13 months, and he also remembers driving across the dam for the first time after it opened in November.

“The bridge part was nice, but the approaches were awful,” he said.

The Corps of Engineers hired a construction company to tear apart the dam's bridge deck and replace it with precast concrete, but the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is responsible for the approaches, which have been giving drivers a bumpy ride.

“It'd jar your teeth, you know that if you drove across it before,” Dinwiddie said.

Now traffic is down to one lane while ODOT crews work on a more permanent solution, replacing three concrete panels leading up to the dam.

This has many wondering why they didn't fix them originally.

ODOT said the approaches weren't considered critical while the decks were being rebuilt.

Spokeswoman Kenna Carmon said the hard winter and wet spring are why concrete is crumbling, producing all the potholes.

“We're doing a lot of different surface work, a lot of different bridge work, so there's a lot of areas where you're gonna see old pavement next to new pavement,” she said.

Some may have noticed an area on the new bridge deck where there's a pothole that's been patched. The Corps said that's actually a hatch cover, and while new overlay is around it, the cover was not replaced.

The bridge should be back to two lanes by noon Wednesday.