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Some drivers concerned crossing I-44 bridge over Arkansas River, ODOT says not hazard to drivers

Posted at 9:11 PM, Jan 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-12 23:36:06-05

TULSA - Some Oklahoma drivers say the I-44 bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa is unsafe to cross. But the Oklahoma Department of Transportation says it's not a hazard to drivers.

Thousands of drivers cross the bridge every day.

"I travel that and my husband travels that every single morning," Tulsa resident Carrie Brooner said.

"It's broken and you can see down through there," Tulsa resident Patricia Sartin said. "It looks dangerous."

Sartin says it looks like a dent in the pavement. 

"The issue is a joint on the bridge going westbound on the Arkansas River on I-44 and it's something that we're aware of and monitoring and it's not an immediate hazard to drivers," ODOT spokesperson Kenna Mitchell said.

ODOT says the joint came loose and has been removed. Underneath the bridge, you can see light shining through with rusted bolts and all.

"If you're going over it, you might not even notice it," Mitchell said. "I think it's just when traffic starts getting into a stop-and-go situation that drivers are looking around and able to notice that this part of the expansion joint is gone."

"The bumps?" Brooner said. "Yeah, the jerks of it make you wonder if you're going to fall through? Yeah,  definitely."

ODOT  says they're developing a repair plan and the project is on bid in March.

"What are they going to do when something really terrible does happen and people get hurt from it and they say, 'Well sorry, you know we put in a bid but it just took us way too long and those lives just didn't matter,'" Brooner said. 

If the Transportation Commission approves a bid, work could start within months. Until then, it's frustration for drivers like Brooner.

"That's what upsets me the most," she said. "Is that they just don't feel like we're important enough to take care of."

ODOT says they will also be doing work on the US-64 and Arkansas bridge. They say that work may not begin until late spring or early summer.

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