I-244 bridge construction on schedule despite record heat
BY JARREL WADE World Staff Writer
Monday, August 13, 2012
8/13/12 at 7:04 AM
The I-244 Arkansas River bridge construction is past the halfway mark as construction crews finish the bridge's piers and place the steel support beams, a transportation official said.
The $78-million, two-year project is on schedule - despite this summer's extreme heat - for completion in mid-2013, said Kenna Mitchell, Oklahoma Department of Transportation spokeswoman.
"So far the weather is not causing any delays on the project," Mitchell said. "They are still able to work."
The multi-modal bridge, once completed, will include three through lanes of vehicular traffic on westbound Interstate 244 over the Arkansas River.
Below the lanes, the bridge will also support two rail lines and a pedestrian bridge.
Work on the bridge is mainly during the day, but certain work, like concrete pouring, is done at night to take advantage of the cooler air, Mitchell said.
"When it does get to be extreme heat, the crews are very good about looking out for each other by staying hydrated and taking breaks," she said.
As crews are finishing the substructure - to include below-ground foundation, piers and abutments that connect the bridge to land - they are simultaneously working on other parts including the bridge deck, she said.
Currently, about 25 percent of the bridge's deck lanes are constructed. Work has yet to begin on the deck's walls or street lights, Mitchell said.
Overall, the bridge will hold 19,000 cubic yards of concrete, 9 million pounds of structural steel and 5 million pounds of reinforcing steel, according to ODOT records.
Although the entire project workzone stretches for about a mile, the bridge itself is nearly 3,300 feet long, according to plans.
The bridge it is replacing was built in 1967 and had been listed as one of more than 600 of ODOT's currently structurally deficient bridges.
About 68,000 vehicles crossed the old bridge every day, according to transportation data.
That traffic is currently shifted to the eastbound I-244 bridge while the westbound bridge gets closer to completion.
Bids for eventual replacement of the eastbound bridge are set for next year.
ansas River bridge
Start date: April 2011
Completion date: mid-2013
Cost: $78 million
Federal funding grants: $50 million
The multi-modal bridge, once completed, will include three through lanes of vehicular traffic on westbound Interstate 244 over the Arkansas River. Below the lanes, the bridge will also support two rail lines and a pedestrian bridge.
Original Print Headline: Seeing progress
- The project is the second-largest ever awarded by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.
- About 68,000 vehicles crossed the former westbound bridge daily.
- Overall, the bridge will hold 19,000 cubic yards of concrete and 14 million pounds of steel.
Jarrel Wade 918-581-8367
Work continues on the Arkansas River westbound I-244 bridge just west of downtown. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
Enrico Dias (bottom) cuts metal last month as he works on the I-244 Arkansas River bridge westbound. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World
Work continues on the I-244 Arkansas River bridge westbound. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World