The Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Webber and the cities of Purcell and Lexington, announced the completion of the new US-77/SH-39 James C. Nance Memorial Bridge on Friday, July 26.
The new bridge replaces the two-lane, structurally deficient bridge over the South Canadian River and the BNSF railroad that was originally built in 1938. The bridge connecting the two towns was closed for several months in 2014 for emergency repairs and during that time drivers had to use a 45-minute detour route to travel between the two cities.
Webber began work on the new bridge in late 2017. The $38 million, two-year project met with numerous challenges as our first project in Oklahoma, inclement weather and local protected wildlife living on or under the historical bridge delayed work. The new bridge is a four-lane structure that includes shoulders and a protected bicycle and pedestrian pathway – and the wildlife is already calling the new bridge home for the start of their 2019 mating season!
“This bridge allows neighbors to come together again and what an amazing feat to get it done in two years,” said Rep. Sherri Conley, R-Newcastle.
Tim Gatz, secretary of transportation and ODOT executive director, said that while a project like this would normally take 10 years to complete, ODOT was able to expedite the process to design, approve and construct the new bridge in just five years. He also said that time was of the essence during construction because of the heavy traffic on the bridge, which averages about 10,000 vehicles per day.
“To have accelerated this major infrastructure project in only three years and completed construction in less than two years is a major engineering, planning and construction accomplishment,” Gatz said. “There is reason to celebrate today in bringing these communities back together and in such record time…keeping our commitment to keep the traffic open for the duration of the project.”
“Webber and ODOT employees were out here on the hottest of the hot and coldest of the cold days to get this done,” said Lexington Mayor David Adams. “And did it in far less time than we all expected.”
After the grand opening festivities, the Webber US 77 bridge crew gathered under some shade trees and cooked up fajitas over an open pit. Webber President & CEO Jose Carlos Esteban, Heavy Civil Division President Josh Goyne and Area Manager David Corvi joined the crew, as well as the ODOT bridge team and their media relations team.
By the Numbers:
- 20,000 Cubic Yards of Concrete
- 6 million pounds of rebar
- 3,726 feet long
- 325,000 man hours to build
- Cost $38 million
- Completed 5 months early