LEXINGTON — The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office was notified Tuesday by Lexington law enforcement the bridge over the Canadian River connecting Lexington to Purcell was “significantly damaged.”
The James C. Nance bridge has significant damage on the east end. Due to the damage, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has dropped the weight limit to travel across the bridge.
Larry Clore, ODOT public information officer, said during inspection on Monday there was some damage found, at which time they restricted the bridge's weight limit to 5 tons until they could get a better look at it.
Because of the weight restriction, not even a school bus could cross the bridge. The bridge carries traffic for US 77 and State Highway 39 from McClain County to Cleveland County.
Clore said Tuesday a bridge team looked at the damage, did some software calculations and decided it was safe to raise the weight limit to 16 tons.
"That alleviates a lot of problems Purcell and Lexington would have," Clore said regarding school bus transportation and emergency vehicles crossing the bridge.
The weight limit does restrict some large semi trucks still, he said.
According to the Sheriff's Office, ODOT told local law enforcement they are working with engineers to find a solution to the problem and will notify local law enforcement as soon as they have a solution.
"That bridge was built in 1938 so it's pretty old," Clore said. "But if there was anything unsafe about the bridge we could close it."
CCSO encouraged people to spread the word about the damage and weight change to anyone who may live in those areas.