The Norman Transcript

Opinion

December 5, 2012

Major bridge work begins next month

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Transportation Commission in November approved two construction bids that will have a major impact on Norman traffic patterns over the next few years.

A contract for construction of the state’s second Single Point Urban Interchange at I-35 and Main Street was awarded. It will cost about $29 million to replace the Main Street overpass. The first is at I-40 and Morgan Road in west Oklahoma City.

City officials say construction should begin next month. The plan is to keep the bridge open during construction and move traffic to single lanes. The bid was awarded to Manhattan Road and Bridge Contractors and Allen Construction.

Allen Construction was involved in building the first SPUI in Oklahoma. It’ll be a big change for motorists. In theory, traffic flows better as more vehicles use a single set of traffic signals on top of the bridge. The design is used often in Texas.

Further south from Main Street, another contract was awarded for rehabilitation of the I-35 bridge over the South Canadian River. That $15 million bid was won by Sherman Construction.

The next project will be the reconstruction of the Lindsey Street overpass. That project is timed to coincide with the widening and reconstruction of Lindsey Street approved by voters earlier this year.

That project may be tougher to navigate. City officials say engineers are trying to figure out a way to keep Lindsey Street open during construction. However, a grade change may not allow that. If that’s not possible to keep lanes open, it will be a major impediment to getting around Norman for many months.

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