ODOT: James Nance bridge could collapse under own weight
The James Nance bridge connecting Purcell and Lexington could collapse under its own weight, Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials said Monday.
ODOT says the bridge has 22 cracks between an inch wide and seven inches wide and any of them could lead to failure.
The bridge was limited to vehicles under 5 tons last month after an inspection found problems. That limit was then raised to 16 tons later the same day.
Last week, ODOT officials closed the bridge indefinitely after more cracking was found.
Monday, officials say the bridge will remain closed for months while repair is ongoing.
The bridge is 75 years old and is the same design as the Interstate 35 bridge in Minnesota that collapsed several years ago.
ODOT officials say a contract to fix the bridge will likely be issued in March.
The alternate route around the bridge takes drivers up Highway 77 into Noble and Norman. It adds about 45 minutes to a trip.
A completely new bridge is being worked on, but that is likely years away due to a cost of $40 million dollars, officials said in a statement.