NORMAN — Norman city officials are proactively addressing what they describe as urgent concerns on the Lindsey Street and Interstate 35 bridge. Repairs start this weekend, and traffic will be affected.
Beginning Sunday morning, repairs will begin on four sections of the Lindsey Street bridge deck located primarily in the outside eastbound lane of Lindsey.
“This is an emergency repair, and it’s pretty serious business or we wouldn’t be doing it,” said Public Works Director Shawn O’Leary on Friday afternoon.
City staff met with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation to plan the repairs. Additional traffic diverted by the Main Street and I-35 interchange construction detour has contributed to the deterioration of the Lindsey bridge, O’Leary said. The bridge carries more than 20,000 vehicles per day, and that traffic has increased since the start of construction on the Main Street interchange at I-35. The bridge is structurally safe for traffic, but repairs are urgently needed, say city engineers.
Norman traffic engineers want to avoid the accidents experienced in other Oklahoma cities when chunks of concrete have fallen from bridges and struck passing motorists. In 2009, a Claremore man was seriously injured when a chunk of concrete hit his vehicle as he was passing under U.S. 169 in Tulsa. In that case, a vehicle had hit the bridge, dislodging the concrete.
Last June, a chunk of concrete fell from a bridge on I-244 in Tulsa and hit the windshield of a pickup. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries in that case.
Norman city staff isn’t taking any chances.
“We’ll try to do some work to extend the life of the structure until we get the new bridge,” Traffic Engineer Angelo Lombardo said. “We’ve seen a lot of deterioration on the bridge and potholes, and there are some repairs that are urgent.”