Lexington-Purcell Bridge Repairs Hurt Local Businesses
Posted on behalf of Edwards Law Firm on Mar 07, 2014 in General News
The bridge which connects the Oklahoma towns of Lexington and Purcell has been closed to due to major structural damage since January 31. The James C. Nance Memorial Bridge, also known as the Lexington-Purcell Bridge, spans 3,642 feet over the Canadian river. Without access to the bridge, a two-mile trip between Lexington and Purcell now requires a 50-mile detour.
Local businesses cannot wait much longer for the bridge to reopen. Both towns rely on the bridge for local traffic to their businesses, as well as traffic from travelers on nearby major highways. Residents are also having difficulties getting to work, school, or doctors appointments. To alleviate some of the stress of the extra commute, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) is providing a free shuttle throughout the day between Purcell and Lexington.
ODOT recently awarded a $10.8 million construction contract to the firm of Manhattan Road & Bridge Co., of Tulsa. Engineers expect the bridge to be reopened to cars and light trucks within 45 days of the start of construction, which would be approximately March 31.
The contract expects the construction to be completed on an aggressive timetable. The bridge should be reopened to car and pickup traffic within 45 days, and open to all traffic within 120 days. ODOT engineers expect all repairs to be completed on the bridge in 150 days. As an incentive to beat these deadlines, ODOT is offering the contractor up to $2,500 per hour for each hour that the company is under the 45-day deadline, and $1,500 for each hour the company is under the 120-day deadline.
However, the repair work on the bridge has suffered setbacks. ODOT initially identified 10 areas of cracking which needed to be repaired before traffic could resume, but as of March 5, that number had increased to 37 areas. ODOT is still optimistic that these areas can be repaired by the 45-day deadline.
ODOT will be providing weekly updates on the repairs to the bridge. Additionally, the Oklahoma Transportation Commission will hold a special meeting on Monday, March 10, to discuss the repairs to the bridge. ODOT officials are expected to provide the Commissioners with a detailed report on the emergency repair work, including information on the discovery of the additional cracks and the impact of changing conditions on the repairs timeline.