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State of Emergency Declared in OK due to Risk of Bridge Collapse

Posted by feww on February 8, 2014

FAILING INFRASTRUCTURE
STATE OF EMERGENCY

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Fallin declares State of Emergency after Purcell-Lexington bridge closure

Gov Fallin declared a State of Emergency in Cleveland and McClain counties, Okla., due to the closure of James C. Nance Memorial Bridge.

“The bridge we just went and saw was at risk of collapsing and still is at risk of collapsing,” said Fallin.

The bridge, which facilitates flow of commerce and trade between portions of six counties, was shut down by ODOT on January 31 due to major structural damage. Some 22 cracks were detected in the truss system.

Lexington and Purcell are less than two miles apart. However, since the bridge closure, the 40-mile detour takes about 50 minutes to drive, dramatically increasing commute times and fuel expenses.

“This bridge is a safety hazard and is at risk of collapse,” said Fallin. “Keeping it open would have threatened lives. It had to close. Unfortunately, that has created an economic hardship, not to mention a severe inconvenience, for the people of Lexington and Purcell.”

The bridge is said to be “similar” to the Minnesota I-35W bridge that collapsed in 2007.

Opened in 1938, the 1,110-meter (3,642 ft) long bridge crosses the Canadian River and is one of the longest in the Sooner State. The cost of rebuilding could top $40 million.

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