Why Is A Creek Turnpike Bridge Like A Roller Coaster?

Friday, July 10th 2009, 6:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Terry Hood, The News On 6

BROKEN ARROW, OK -- A bumpy bridge in Tulsa has our viewers asking questions. They want to know why the Creek Turnpike Bridge near Broken Arrow causes drivers to nearly fly out of their seats.

Some people call it the "roller coaster bridge." It stretches from the Highway 169 Creek Turnpike Interchange to just north of the Olive Street exit.      It has drivers asking, why is it so bumpy?

It's one of the newer tracts of turnpike roadway in Oklahoma. The final portion of the Creek Turnpike in Broken Arrow opened in 2002, and this long bridge has been a sore spot for drivers ever since.

Just this week it's been a main topic in our online chat during the News On 6 morning editorial meeting.

DC wrote: "Ride across the bridge of the Creek Turnpike from 169 to south BA. You feel like you're riding a horse."

Several viewers responded including this from MikeTU: "I have wondered what the deal with that was. It's annoying to drive on, but my son loves it."

"You just pretty much go up and down, real fast. Every section of the bridge you get some hang time in the air," said Tulsa resident Ashly Snyder.

Ashly Snyder is also familiar with the bridge, coined the "roller coaster bridge" by KRMG traffic reporter John Filbeck. The bumpy ride comes from small waves on the highway.

The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says it's a result of a miscalculation by the engineer. The support columns for the bridge did not settle as much as designers expected, resulting in a slight buckling of the road.                    

The bridge originally cost $20 million to build and the Turnpike Authority says it would cost $28 million to tear down and re-build.

While the Turnpike Authority admits it's an uncomfortable ride, they say it's safe and still falls within national safety guidelines.

Ashly Snyder says the ride is too bumpy for her; she now avoids it altogether.

"Well it's just an extra stress that I don't need - when I get there - go too fast and have to control the vehicle," Snyder said.

The bridge passed inspection in November, and the Turnpike Authority says it is structurally sound.