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ODOT delays Grand Lake bridge project after outcry from business owners

Posted at 9:52 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 23:13:00-05

AFTON, Okla. — Drivers along Duck Creek said the bridge is an artery between communities, one that's vital and driven by hundreds every day. ODOT was planning to demolish the hundred-year-old bridge and build a new one, beginning the first week of March.

But after an uproar from the lake community before its busy and lucrative summer season, the Department of Transportation has pushed the work back to the fall.

'We went through and we realized that we had not provided the most current project scope to the communities to let them know it was going to be a longer closure than we originally thought several years ago," ODOT spokesperson Kenna Mitchell said.

RELATED: ODOT closing Duck Creek Bridge for 6-month rehab project

RELATED: ODOT delays Duck Creek Bridge project after businesses call it a summer 'death sentence'

Those who have to drive across the bridge every day said now that they don't have to worry about the timing of the project, their next concern is safety when the work does begin.

"It's definitely going to increase the tardiness in our school district. It definitely could impact our students driving on rough roads, maybe some dangerous roads. Especially when it rains, I know we have some rural roads that can get flooded," Ketchum High School counselor Stephanie Young said.

Young said it will cause headaches when work begins next school year, as students commute from both sides of the bridge.

"This could add 40 minutes, an hour a day to students on the school bus. So that could definitely impact their daily education as well as their energy levels," she said.

Mitchell said ODOT didn't want to blind side the community, and this gives more time to plan. Some are even considering new cars to drive on back roads.

"Once I first heard about it I thought, well, I'm going to have to go all the way around. Then I heard we could take the dirt road and it would be a little bit easier, a little bit faster, but I have a little car. So it would be harder on my car," said Rusty Russell with Arrowhead Yacht Club.

Mitchell said fall weather won't be as easy to work through, but the team is hopeful to still have the bridge replaced within six months.

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