MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

October 27, 2013

Closure of U.S. 64 bridge coming soon

State transportation officials said the U.S. 64 bridge that spans the Arkansas River between Webbers Falls and Gore will close Nov. 4 for major repairs.

The $2.11 million rehabilitation project is expected to be completed by the end of February. Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokesman Cody Boyd said motorists will have to use alternate routes such as Interstate 40 and Oklahoma 10.

The bridge, which spans the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, is a vital link for local farmers and a main artery of commerce. Data collected in 2010 show that the bridge carries about 4,400 vehicles daily.

For Webbers Falls residents who bank and shop in Gore, the 1.9-mile trip will become a 10.8-mile venture into the Sequoyah County town. Traffic will be re-routed to Interstate 40, a fact that set off alarms for farmers who had asked about starting the work earlier to accommodate their seasons.

Chris Wallace, the division construction engineer for ODOT’s Division I headquarters in Muskogee, said traffic patterns were considered when the agency scheduled the bridge project. Incentives and penalties have been included in the contract to encourage early completion.

Wallace said the contractor, PBX Corp. of Sapulpa, could earn a daily bonus of $4,200 for early completion, with a 25-day maximum. Conversely, the contractor would be penalized $4,200 per day if the bridge is not re-opened to traffic within the 100 days.

The U.S. 64 bridge, which was built in 1969, has been declared structurally deficient. It’s one of 634 to have that rating in ODOT’s 2011 inventory of 6,750 bridges. A structurally deficient bridge is one “that can no longer carry the load it was designed to support or ... was not originally designed to support the loads being carried.”

The rehabilitation will include the replacement of the bridge’s floor beams, which support the deck, or roadway, and repairs to its concrete pillars. Although the work primarily will be structural, workers will have to cut into the deck to access the beams from above.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

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