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June 19, 2014

Oklahoma roads, bridges inspected after quakes

TULSA — The recent spate of strong earthquakes in central Oklahoma hasn’t caused any significant damage to bridges and roads, according to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

The agency said ODOT crews inspect bridges in a five- to 10-mile radius from the epicenter of any earthquake that’s magnitude 4.0 or larger. So far this week, Oklahoma has experienced two such earthquakes near Jones and Spencer.

“We have to make sure that not only are the bridges safe, but the roadway as well, as we check for cracks,” said Kenna Carmon, spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation in northeast Oklahoma. Inspectors travel at night and during weekends until all areas within the quake’s radius are checked, Carmon said.

Robert Stem, the executive director of the Association of Oklahoma General Contractors, said additional shaking can threaten a bridge that’s already deteriorating.

“A teetering bridge might have a life span of 10 years before it needs to be fixed, but following a quake, that time might be cut in half,” Stem said.

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