Mayes County Bridge To Be Replaced

Wednesday, August 9th 2006, 10:05 am
By: News On 6

Folks in Mayes County have been promised a new bridge, but while that's still a dream, the potholes on the current bridge are a reality. The bridge is over Lake Hudson on Strang Road.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says there are some who believe about the only safe way to cross the Strang Bridge is to walk.

Liz Wilson, and her husband Bill, usually drive across and every time they worry. "It feels terrible to be on it and you've got a big truck coming across right now." Bill Wilson: "You just have to go from one side to the other to dodge the big holes and there's not much leeway to dodge them."

This one lane bridge over Lake Hudson is showing signs of its age. It's a steel bridge with wooden decking covered in asphalt. The problem is the wood is rotting out - and the asphalt is falling through. The county came out and put down some fresh patches just before our cameras arrived, but the folks who live around here and who drive on this bridge worry it's not enough.

They worry that someone or something will fall through before this old bridge is replaced. Mayes County Commissioner Jim Montgomery: "I'm not worried about the bridge failing itself. I've seen loads go across it far more than what's recommended." Commissioner Montgomery says the bridge is sound - but the weight of the asphalt limits how much it can handle since it was designed for only the weight of the original wood.

The county will start on a new bridge next month, but it will take another year to build. Liz Wilson: "Knowing the school buses are going to start running is what bothers me a whole lot." Liz and Bill still worry and they're hoping the county will keep a close eye on it - and stick to the promise of building the new bridge soon.

The old bridge will be left standing after the new one is opened. It will be blocked off to traffic. Jim Montgomery says removing it would cost a million dollars and would be complicated because it's considered historic.