Oklahoma Transportation Department warns against federal bridge report
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 07, 2012
8/07/12 at 5:56 AM
OKLAHOMA CITY - State transportation commissioners were warned Monday that a federal bridge report being released soon will show that Oklahoma remains near the top nationwide in the number of structurally deficient bridges.
State Transportation Secretary Gary Ridley, speaking at a Transportation Commission meeting, said the report will not fully represent the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's recent work on structurally deficient bridges because the federal statistics include bridges outside of ODOT's responsibility.
"Oklahoma is still not going to look very well because of the number of local roads," Ridley said. "On the state system, ... I think you can see that we are making some progress."
The department announced late last year a plan to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges on ODOT roads to zero.
As of December, the number of structurally deficient bridges in ODOT's system was down to 634 from 706 in 2010, according to a news release. ODOT's system includes about 6,800 bridges.
The federal report includes all bridges in Oklahoma, which amounts to about 16,000, according to the news release. More than 4,600 of those bridges - including ODOT's 634 - are designated structurally deficient.
As ODOT works to reduce structurally deficient bridges in its system, Ridley highlighted a project to recycle beams from Oklahoma City's Interstate 40.
As the old Crosstown Expressway is dismantled, the beams will be moved to structurally deficient bridges across the state.
"It is a monumental task," Ridley said. "We're repositioning all these beams in about 22 locations across the state."
The locations are holding places for the beams until they are ready to be used in bridge projects, he said.
Ridley said the project may be the largest recycling project of its kind among transportation organizations across the country.
"We estimated that we would only be able to recycle about 1,500 of the 1,800 beams," he said. "We're finding out more of the beams are able to be used than we originally thought."
It's estimated that the recycling project eventually will save about $8 million.
"It was our hope that we would be able to build about 300 50-foot bridges" with the beams, Ridley said. "I think we'll be able to surpass that."
Original Print Headline: ODOT warns against fed bridge report
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367