NORMAN — The Main Street bridge over Interstate 35 built in 1959 will be torn down this week.
Starting tonight, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation will remove the existing Main Street bridge. Some lanes on I-35 will be closed during the removal. Lane closures will be done at night between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. to avoid disrupting traffic.
During the day, all four lanes on I-35 will be open.
Congress created the Interstate Highway program in 1956 during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Administration.
North-south routes were given odd numbers, while east-west routes had even numbers. I-35 was one of the original highways proposed by the new program. Construction got off to a quick start, and the current Main Street bridge was constructed in 1959.
During the 1960s, controversy arose over funding, with many roads still in progress across the nation.
Weather permitting, the contractor expects to complete the bridge demolition by the end of next week. The existing Main Street Bridge and interchange will be replaced with a Single Point Urban Interchange that will allow large volumes of traffic to negotiate the area using a single set of traffic lights. This will be second SPUI in Oklahoma.
Project deadlines were pushed back when ODOT realized the existing I-35 roadbed was higher than current standards. The roadbed will be upgraded as a result, allowing for the higher clearance needed for modern trucks.