Bridge collapse impact on nearby Sequoyah Wildlife Refuge

Thursday, May 30th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

For now, there is a ban on the Arkansas River for all recreational vehicles three miles north and three miles south of the I-40 bridge until salvage operations are complete.

Boats are also banned three miles south of the bridge on the river, which is the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge territory. The refuge is 20,000 acres and half of it is water. Now that the initial concern over finding victims is over, they're focusing on the environmental impact of the bridge collapse.

The semi's that went into the water lost their loads and there was diesel fuel and oil spilled when the cars were brought to the surface. Wildlife Refuge manager, Henry Sansing, "They set up containment boons, five, maybe up to seven, about a mile from the site and it did a good job to contain the petroleum and to catch the floating debris."

They don't expect any long-term environmental damage to the refuge because of the accident.