The Norman Transcript

Opinion

February 20, 2014

Ripple effects of closure

NORMAN — A state legislator expressed his concern about the “ripple effect” of the closure of the State Highway 39/77 bridge connecting Lexington and Purcell.

The extra time for the commute between the two cities is taking its toll on businesses and families. Purcell business customers who used to travel from Lexington now go elsewhere.

Churches who count members from both cities are seeing declines in attendance and collections. Ambulances, formerly dispatched out of Purcell with a return trip to the Purcell hospital, now must be based in Lexington for the trip to Norman.

The contractor began emergency repairs on Valentine’s evening. By about the first week of April, if not sooner, the contractor is expected to have the bridge patched up enough for a five-ton load limit passing. That will allow cars, small trucks and pedestrians back and forth on the bridge.

Gov. Mary Fallin pledged the cooperation of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in enforcing any limited load limits. A fully repaired bridge should be open to all traffic by mid June.

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