Visitors coming to Durant from out of town have had to use a detour through a residential area in order to get to the city.
Many have never traveled that area and have become lost in the area.
Local motorists have had major time inconveniences because of the detour as well as resident living along the detour have seen a major increase in traffic just outside their front yards.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation officials say the bridge construction is continuing and that it should be open next month.
Brent Frank with ODOT said Thursday, “We are anticipating the middle of October. I know they are decking on the bridge now. The curing of concrete could be something we wait on. They have some road work to do on it also. We are hoping weather cooperates, so we are hoping for the middle of October, my estimation.”
Construction crews had some issues with the old footing for the bridge.
The previous bridge was demolished to make room for the current bridge under construction.
There was a previous bridge, before that one, that was an old type arch bridge.
The footings from that bridge were causing delays because they were located near where the new footings were to be constructed for this new bridge.
Frank said, “There was an old, old bridge, the one that preceded the one there now. It was a concrete arch span bridge, and some of those footings had been buried underground. They were in the vicinity of where the drill shafts would go for this new bridge.”
Three bridges have spanned Chuckwa Creek at Highway 48, north 1st street.
The thinking was that the span bridge was built in the 1920s, then a new bridge was constructed when that span bridge was demolished, maybe sometime in the 1930s, according to ODOT estimates.
The footings were left in place when they built the new bridge that was recently demolished.
It was the footings from that original first bridge that slowed this current project down.
It is thought that they did not cause problems for the middle bridge that was recently in use.
Crews just covered them up, until the new bridge construction started.
All that has been rectified. The old footings were removed and new footings poured for the new bridge.
Crews have been working diligently on the bridge after those delays.
Frank said, “Based on what the crews have left to do, they have been moving much quicker, they will be getting the decking done on the bridge. I’m hoping maybe by next week they’ll be ready to pour that deck. I think they have some walls to do, and have some back fill to do. Then they have some road work. There’s not an extensive amount of road work, it will take a little bit of time to do that. Then they’ll put the guardrail in. I think with the work they have left, just knock on wood with the weather, I think around the first to middle of October, they’ll get it finished. “
Concrete takes time to dry, to “cure” and set up to specifications that allow the concrete to be used properly. The decking on the bridge must cure for 14 days to be safe for traffic. Crews can do other things to the bridge, to finish it out, in order to save time.
Frank said, “Typically what specifications call for, on bridge decks, they have to do a “water cure” for 7 days where they put mats over it and let the concrete cure. Anytime after that, if they have 80% of the strength of the concrete, if their forms are still in place, they can place the traffic rails on the bridge deck. They get the rails on. They will have to pour the approaches to the bridge. We require 14 days and 100% of the concrete strength to open it to traffic.”
He said by the time the rails are put on the bridge and approaches are poured, the 14 day cure requirement is met.
“The cure won’t necessarily slow work down on the bridge,” Frank said.
With about 3 weeks until mid October, motorists will welcome the new bridge over Chuckwa Creek.
They will appreciate the ease of using north 1st street in Durant instead of the long residential detour they are currently experiencing.
Those living along the detour route will love their street getting back to normal.
Contact Dan Pennington at (580) 634-2162 or email@example.com
A new traffic signal will be placed at Silo Road and Highway 70 west to help traffic problems in that area. There are two other locations west of there that may eventually need a signal, but the Silo Road location is used by Silo as well as students at the Silo school.