Erosion among defects resulting in bridge closure

Dec. 3—The 60th Avenue NE Bridge that crosses Rock Creek between Tecumseh Road and Rock Creek Road was closed this week because of structural issues following multiple inspections.

The city has set up detours along 48th Avenue for those needing to travel through.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation released a bridge inspection report that detailed bridge defects, including erosion at the west end of the south abutment, sectional loss to the secondary support on the pier cap at the east end, and loss of section to the end beam at the north abutment.

The inspector detected rust, failure of paint systems, joints covered by asphalt overlay, failure of bottom flanges, cracks, and pitting in beams, bean ends, abutments, supplementary caps, and railing.

The inspection was performed on Oct. 10 by Troy Travis, and the Public Works Staff received an updated inspection report on Nov. 28.

"The referenced bridge structure was originally constructed in 1940 and has been deteriorating for several years," said Darrel Pyle, Norman's city manager.

According to a public service announcement from the City of Norman, an engineering firm has been awarded a contract to design a bridge replacement, but full plans are not expected to be complete until late 2023.

The city is looking for options to expedite the project, which will cost $3 to $4 million.

Garver LLC won the bid to design the new bridge, though final plans and bid documents are not expected until December 2023.

At this point, the city has not earmarked funds for its replacement.

The bridge was constructed in 1940, and until it was shut down Thursday, it had a maximum load limit of 4 tons, downgraded from 10 tons in 2019, and school buses and fire trucks had been prohibited from passing the bridge for many years.

It carried approximately 1,500 vehicles per day, which will have to be redirected until the project is completed.