City Closes Downtown Muskogee Bridge Due To Structural Concerns

Friday, January 2nd 2015, 1:21 pm
By: News On 6

Engineers think it's not safe to let drivers cross a bridge in the heart of Muskogee after a car slid on the ice, and crashed into the bridge's main support.

Until inspectors can assess the damage, the bridge is off limits to drivers.

When trains come through the area and the gates come down in Muskogee, cars usually take the Court Street Bridge, but because of crash due to icy conditions Thursday, the Public Works Department has it shut down so engineers can evaluate it before it's safe to drive on.

Cars looking to cross the railroad tracks in the heart of Muskogee have to find a detour. The Court Street Bridge is only carrying pedestrians as crews wait to see how badly damaged it is after an icy crash.

"It's hard to say; I actually think it's horrible," said Muskogee resident, Gloria Petrolito.

Walkers hardly notice the damage, but it's what's underneath the bridge deck that has crews taking precautions.

“The problem is these straps connected to the pin system, which is down below and the impact on the straps was enough that we're very concerned about the condition of the pins and you can see from below that the pin did get some tension applied to it," said Muskogee Public Works Department Director, Mike Stewart.

He said there'll be no cars or trucks on the bridge at least until Monday.

"We're going to have somebody come up from the bottom of the bridge to actually do that inspection on the pins, and then once we know the condition of those we'll know what we can do moving forward," Stewart said.

Because it's an older-style bridge, a special engineer has to be called in to actually inspect the bridge deck.

Once that happens, then an assessment will be made on what kind of repairs need to be put in place in order for it to be reopened.

Muskogee Police said the crash happened at 10:53 a.m. Officers said a 1988 Chevy pickup was westbound on the bridge when its driver lost control on ice and it struck a steel beam.

Police said the driver, 19-year-old Daniel Yocom of Muskogee, was not injured.