Tulsa Area Bridges Among The Hundreds Targeted For Repair By 2019

Monday, October 3rd 2011, 12:56 pm

By: News On 6

Emory Bryan, News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin is supporting a plan to repair all 706 deficient highway bridges in the state by 2019.

Fallin and state transportation officials revealed details of the plan Monday.

Read Governor Mary Fallin's Bridge Improvement & Turnpike Modernization Plan 2011-2019

On the south side of downtown Tulsa's inner dispersal loop, almost every bridge is considered to be worn out.

There are 706 bridges statewide with structural problems, like crumbling supports. And that's just bridges on the state highway system, there are far more county and city bridges in the same or worse condition.

"I haven't fallen through any of them, but you always got to worry," said one Tulsa driver.

From Oklahoma City Monday, Governor Mary Fallin and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation said all of the crumbling state bridges can be rebuilt by 2019, by changing priorities on spending.

"We're going to do it without raising taxes, tolls, or fees in our state," Fallin said.

Of Oklahoma's 6,800 state bridges, 706 need to be replaced. For 413 of those, the state has funding in place. At Fallin's direction, ODOT added 126 bridges to that list, with available funding. The governor needs legislative action to pay for repairs to the last 167 bridges.

The bridges didn't get this way overnight and in most cases they've been on the "structurally deficient" list for a long time. But this is the first time someone has a made a timeline to get that list down to zero.

Read Governor's Timeline.

The timeline for construction would have all them finished within 10 years, but it would require a massive push for construction on some of the state's busiest roads.

But it would bump Oklahoma from near the top of the list of states with the most bad bridges. The governor also wants more money put into county bridges, but that plan as well depends on spending existing money, meaning other projects would get less.

Fallin says she'll push for the new priority - in the state legislature next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


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