By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
CATOOSA, OK - A Rogers County bridge was shut-down after it was hit by a runaway trailer. One southbound lane of the Highway 66 bridge over Bird Creek near Catoosa is open. But, the lane where the trailer slammed into the bridge is still closed.
A spokesperson for Oklahoma Department of Transportation says they're working on a repair plan right now. And, it might take a couple of weeks before both southbound lanes can re-open.
"We don't want drivers to be on a bridge that might have any sort of safety issue. So, we needed our inspectors to come out to inspect it to make sure if we do put traffic on it that traffic is safe crossing this bridge," said ODOT's Kenna Mitchell.
State troopers believe a trailer came loose from its truck, smashing into the side of the bridge. It cut through a couple of steel beams and took out a chunk of the concrete curb. The bridge was built back in the 1930s and it's a little road-weary.
It's one of hundreds of bridges in Oklahoma considered functionally obsolete and structurally deficient.
"It can't really handle the traffic load. It was designed for a much different traffic load and it was designed for much smaller vehicles when it was built back in its day," said ODOT's Kenna Mitchell.
State inspectors cleared the bridge for one lane of southbound traffic and they're working on fixing the damage.
"We're coming up with a repair plan right now. So, we do anticipate having to have this lane closed for several weeks. and we will notify drivers when we can have this lane back open to traffic," said ODOT's Kenna Mitchell.
Mitchell isn't sure if this accident will speed up the plan to replace the bridge which is set to happen in 2012.
"We do need to go in first and get these repairs made and get traffic back to a normal pattern on state Highway 66. And then, we'll definitely be looking at what we can do to help this bridge in the future," said ODOT's Kenna Mitchell.
ODOT is taking some safety precautions. They've lowered the speed limit from 60 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. They're also asking drivers with heavier or wider loads to use Highway 266 as an alternate route.
Check out the Newson6.com's Bridge Tracker.