OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Transportation Commission awarded a $10.8 million contract Friday for emergency repairs to the bridge linking the towns of Lexington and Purcell.
State engineers had estimated a base cost of $5.5 million for the repair work, plus the potential for the contractor to earn several more million dollars by finishing the project ahead of schedule.
It will take an estimated 45 days to reopen the bridge to car and pickup traffic. The bridge must be reopened to all traffic within 120 days. All work must be completed within 150 days.
State transportation director Mike Patterson said work was starting at 5 p.m. Friday. He noted that this effort to repair the bridge has brought together
several sectors to do the work.
He applauded Gov. Mary Fallin for declaring an emergency on Feb. 5.
State Rep. Bobby Cleveland, who lives in Lexington, said he has been amazed how everyone has worked together to get these repairs done, and also to provide a shuttle service to take people from one town to the other.
“This is a community effort. We stepped up to the plate,” Cleveland said.
State Sen. Corey Brooks, a Washington, Okla. native, applauded ODOT for detecting the cracks before the bridge collapsed.
“It is amazing what can be done, if we put our minds to it,” Brooks said.
Incentives and disincentives included in the contract are some of the most aggressive in Oklahoma Department of Transportation history, officials said.
The contractor stands to earn $2,500 per hour for beating the deadline. However, if the contractor is late, the company will be penalized $1,500 per hour.
Bobby Stem, executive director of the Oklahoma Association of General Contractors, said there are circumstances the contractor cannot control.
It is estimated that the project will entail the use of more than 200 specially made brackets installed on the bridge.
“The contractor can’t control how quickly the foundry can make them,” Stem said.