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Historical Fort Gibson bridge gets new role

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Posted at 5:15 PM, Jan 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-10 18:15:13-05

Muskogee County dedicated a new bridge Tuesday that they hope will pave the way to success in the future.

But it doesn't mean history is falling by the wayside.

Local leaders consider it a new beginning, 10 years in the making.

“This wasn't really just a matter of replacing something old with something new...it was a true matter of public safety,” said Muskogee County Commissioner Ken Doke.

A $7 million 2-lane bridge now sits outside the old Fort Gibson historical site on the Grand River, making commutes quicker and safer.

But contractors couldn't bear to part with the narrow 1926 bridge that served this rural area so well.

“I didn't want them to take it down,” said resident George Carman.

Carman has lived by the old single lane bridge since 1941.

“I walked to school there for 12 years,” he said. “It's all got good memories.”

Those memories are now preserved.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation and Muskogee County donated the old bridge to Fort Gibson for pedestrians...hoping to attract more people and some economic benefits.

“With this being such a historical significant area, this will tie right in with the walking trails,” said Doke.

Many in town consider it a sign of a growing community...two bridges standing side by side representing history and the future.

“That bridge has been there a long time...it's sentimental. And it means a lot to me. Means a lot to me,” said Carman.