Highway 20 Bridge To Close For Repairs
Monday, May 22nd 2006, 9:00 AM CDT
A dangerous Green Country bridge will soon get some much-needed attention, but Rogers County drivers will be inconvenienced for a while.
The state Highway 20 bridge over the Verdigris River is part of one of the state's 100 most dangerous roads.
News on 6 anchor Tami Marler explains why.
The Road Information Program considers a stretch of state Highway 20, one of Oklahoma's 100 most hazardous roads."It can get dangerous." Cecil Marks uses the bridge over the Verdigris River for frequent trips into Tulsa.
The TRIP study says more than 8,000 people cross it every day and its 39 years are showing. "It's so rough that you can't tell where the next hole's gonna be. You can see the rebar down through the bridge when you're driving across it."
So the Oklahoma Department of Transportation is shutting it down, to give it a million-dollar overhaul, replacing the deck and shoring up the foundation. In the 3-to-4 months of repair, drivers will have to take one of a few alternate routes.
ODOT will place detour signs 4-to-5 miles out from the bridge, about a week in advance. Linda Davis: "I'll just have to go around the long way."
One of the alternate routes includes an already busy stretch of state Highway 66 through Claremore.
No matter which route you choose, plan on taking at least 20 extra minute drive time. "To have to go through Claremore and have to fight the traffic in there that's already almost out of control. I mean they've tried to do things to help in there, but to add all this extra, it's gonna have an effect." Linda Davis lives just a stone's throw away from the bridge. She uses it every day, but she says she's been complaining about it for years. "We hear it rattle all the time. When the bigger trucks go over it. For instance the dump truck that just went by. We hear it in the house. It's that bad."
It's about to get better, but not without some inconvenience.
An ODOT spokesperson tells the News on 6, the bridge project should start about the second week of June. Cole Perryman says as soon as ODOT secures the funding, they'll expand state Highway 20 to four lanes and build a new bridge over the Verdigris. He says the current bridge needs immediate repair.