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Two state bridges temporarily closed after design evaluations, load postings made (PRESS RELEASE)

Two state bridges temporarily closed after design evaluations, load postings made (PRESS RELEASE)

June 24, 2010
PR# 10-025

RE: Two state bridges temporarily closed after design evaluations, load postings made

Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials continue to keep abreast of new bridge evaluation methods and are taking precautions to keep Oklahomans safe.

Following a year-long study after the 2007 Minnesota bridge collapse, the Federal Highway Administration issued guidelines for evaluating similar bridges across the nation. Although the evaluations could not begin until guidelines were issued, ODOT was soliciting engineering consultants to be on standby once guidelines were published.

The design reviews include evaluating all 95 truss bridges on the state highway system. Trusses contain plates that connect structural members commonly referred to as gusset plates which are the focus of evaluation.

The study of the Minnesota bridge collapse indicated inadequate gusset plates may have played a role in the structure’s failure. The design evaluations are in addition to the routine wear and tear inspections already performed by the Department every year on these truss bridges. After the Minnesota collapse, ODOT engineers immediately began inspections of similar bridges in Oklahoma.

A nationally recognized consulting firm gave ODOT officials preliminary data from its evaluations this week. As a result two state bridges were temporarily closed and load limits for 25 others were also temporarily reduced, meaning heavy vehicles are restricted from crossing the bridges. Engineers are reviewing ways to modify the bridges, if necessary, to improve postings and reopen as quickly as possible.

The closed bridges are in Choctaw County on SH-109 over the Kiamichi River and in Garvin County on SH-74 over the Washita River.

“We certainly have a duty to err on the side of caution,” ODOT Chief Engineer Gary Evans said. “When we saw the preliminary information from the design evaluations, we decided to take action on the bridges until further determinations can be made.”

Bridges with the temporary load postings are in Beckham, Bryan, Canadian, Cherokee, Coal, Garvin, Grant, Haskell, Hughes, Johnston, Latimer, Leflore, Lincoln, Marshall, McCurtain and Pushmataha counties.

“We know these closures will be an inconvenience,” Evans said. “And we are working diligently to make the closings as short term as possible.”

As more data becomes available on the remaining truss bridges, additional temporary closings and load postings are possible.

Bridges with temporary load postings following design evaluations
County Highway Crossing
Beckham County SH-34 North Fork of the Red River
Bryan County SH-78 Red River
Canadian County US-281 Canadian River
Cherokee County SH-100 Dry Creek
Coal County US-75 Rock Creek
Garvin County SH-76 Washita River
Garvin County US-77 Washita River
Grant County US-60 Salt Fork of the Arkansas River
Haskell County SH-2 Beaver Creek
Hughes County SH-9 Wewoka Creek
Johnston County SH-99 Washita River
Latimer County SH-1 Buffalo Creek
Leflore County SH-63 Billy Creek
Leflore County SH-63 Kiamichi River
Leflore County US-270 Caston Creek
Leflore County US-271 Fourche Maline
Lincoln County SH-66 Business Capitan Creek
Lincoln County US-177 Deep Fork River
Marshall County SH-32 Hauani Creek
McCurtain County US-70 Little River
McCurtain County US-70 Mountain Fork River
McCurtain County SH-3 Glover River
McCurtain County US-70 Yashau Creek
Pushmataha County SH-3 Kiamichi River
Pushmataha County US-271 Kiamichi River

Temporarily closed
County Highway Crossing
Garvin County SH-74 Washita River
Choctaw County SH-109 Kiamichi River

(Editors and News Directors: For additional information, please contact ODOT Media & Public Relations at 405-521-6000. )

Press Release - Oklahoma Department of Transportation
Media & Public Relations Division
200 N.E. 21st Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: 405-521-6000, Fax: 405-521-2524

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