TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma continues continues to improve its ranking in the quality of its bridges, moving from 9th to 7th in new data released this week.
That improvement doesn’t even compare to nearly twenty years ago when the state ranked 49th.
The state wants to keep driver's safety at the forefront. Bobby Stem, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of General Contractors said a tragic accident back in 2004 prompted the state to begin paying more attention to its bridges.
“That really was sparked almost two decades ago, when a chunk of concrete fell off the bridge, and went through a person’s windshield, and killed them,” Stem said.
“The last thing we need are dangerous bridges,” he said.
Over the past 15 years, the state has invested over six billion dollars making significant improvements to bridges across Oklahoma, and it's come a long way.
Now, it ranks 7th for having some of the best bridges in the country. Among the improvements, the IDL project and the series of bridges wrapping around Downtown Tulsa.
“Those were incredibly dangerous, at one point in time, and those have been rehabbed, if not replaced and those are safer now as well,” Stem said.
Another project they're currently working on is at 1-44 and Hwy 75.
Stem said they are working to replace the bridge and improve the traffic flow at that interchange to make it safer for drivers.
“We have so much more traffic today, you have to be a able to move that traffic better in order to avoid collisions,” Stem said.
Now that the state has made bridges safer, Stem said they will focus on improving road conditions and expanding in rural areas of the state.
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