Craig Day, News On 6
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Traffic is now being diverted on the Route 66 bridge going over Bird Creek in Catoosa.
With the westbound Route 66 Bridge over Bird Creek in such bad shape, the Oklahoma Department Of Transportation got an emergency contract to build a detour taking traffic to the adjacent bridge.
"It was coming to the point where we were doing patches on top of patches out there," said Kenna Mitchell.
That traffic shift is now happening, and ODOT wants drivers to know before traveling that section of road, there is a quick slow down.
"It's very different from what drivers are used to out there, and usually it takes a couple of weeks for traffic to adjust anytime there is a big traffic switch like this," Mitchell said.
Since the eastbound bridge now has two-way traffic, the speed limit leading up to the bridge drops to 35. ODOT wants drivers to strictly follow it, especially since the bridge is so narrow.
"There's not a lot of wiggle room, or correction room if there is a problem out there, by going the slower speed limit that will really help protect traffic through that corridor," Mitchell said.
There are plenty of orange barrels and warning signs, and ODOT also put in rumble strips to alert drivers. But the strips are being removed, and ODOT will look at replacing them with a different, less bone-jarring type.
"What we found was it was catching a lot of drivers by surprise, and they were starting to make some of those corrective moves and starting to have some problems getting through the corridor," said Mitchell.
ODOT hopes drivers will avoid problems, by planning ahead for delays, and most of all slowing down. The detour will be in place for some time, since the closed bridge won't be replaced until 2012.
One other important thing to point out is that since the bridge is so narrow, drivers of oversized vehicles may want to pick another route.