Troubled Del City bridges cost $80,000 in repairs over past three years

People who drive on I-40 in Del City know there are two major problem areas on the road.

In February, the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation shut down the bridges over S.E. 15th St and Crutcho Creek when large holes formed in the pavement twice in one week.

And new information from ODOT reveals the two bridges in Del City needed crews to fix them 17 times last year.

"It slows me down when I'm trying to pick my kid up from daycare," said a Del City resident who wanted to be identified only by his first name, Stephen, "every now and then I gotta take alternate routes, back roads."

Drivers say the headaches are common on I-40.

And ODOT says the bridges are among the state's worst-performing, costing more to repair every year.

Repairs Costs:

2011 - $13,123

2012 - $23,900

2013 - $36,178

2014 so far - $7,133

That equals $80,334 over the past three years.

"We are looking forward to the day when we are able to replace them," said ODOT spokesperson Brenda Perry.

But that day is still years away. An ODOT engineer has slated construction to start in 2016, even though both are considered "structurally deficient."

According to ODOT, the 15th St bridge was first declared structurally deficient in 2002 due to deck issues, and again in 2004 due to superstructure issues that were later repaired. The Crutcho Creek bridge was declared deficient in 2009 due to deck and substructure issues under the beams.

"One of the difficult tasks that our division engineers have to do is to balance the needs of the area with the available funding," Perry explained.

She says while the bridges show signs of problems, they are inspected regularly and are not a danger to drivers.

Perry says ODOT knows it can be an inconvenience when crews shut the bridges down to make needed repairs.

"That stretch of road has a lot of traffic on it but we do whatever it takes to keep it safe," she said.

But drivers say they don't understand what's taking so long to bring the Del City bridges back to working order.

"I might not be using these bridges knowing all that," Stephen said, "I'm a little disappointed in their actions. I feel like they could have done better in a more timely fashion."

Thursday night on the FOX 25 Primetime News at 9 reporter Rebecca Schleicher will speak with the engineer in charge of the construction plans and find out why he chose 2016 as the magic number.