ODOT officials confirmed Friday that the 23rd Street bridge in west Tulsa will be closed to all traffic for six months while three spans of the bridge are replaced and several piers are reconfigured and improved.
Oklahoma Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Casey Shell confirmed the closing after meeting at City Hall with Mayor Dewey Bartlett, City Councilor Jeannie Cue, County Commissioner Karen Keith, state Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley, city staff and representatives of west Tulsa companies that will be affected by the closure.
The media was not allowed to attend.
“This was just a big informational sharing meeting,” Shell said afterward.
The $13.5 million project is expected to start in June and will be done in three phases, Shell said.
The first phase includes replacing three spans of the bridge just west of Southwest Boulevard. The second phase involves reopening two lanes of traffic while work on the spans is completed. The third phase will replace the westbound Interstate 244 off ramp that ends on 21st street.
The entire project is scheduled to take 580 days, but Shell said ODOT plans to provide incentives for contractors to finish earlier.
The project also includes reconfiguring and adding crash pads to several of the bridge’s piers that have been damaged after being hit by derailed trains.
The 23rd Street bridge, built in 1962, is on ODOT’s list of deficient bridges and is scheduled for replacement.
Shell said the bridge has a 28 rating out of 100, with 100 being the best score.
“What has come out of this meeting is everyone understands that the bridge must be repaired, but everyone is working together to make it as painless as possible,” Keith said.
A 2014 city of Tulsa study found that 15,800 vehicles cross the bridge every day.
EMSA spokeswoman Kelli Bruer has said previously that the agency had not been informed of ODOT’S plans, but that closure of the bridge would not affect response times.
Major employers on the west side of the bridge include Holly Refinery, Sooner Emergency Services, Magellan Midstream, AAON, Inc., Rogers Galvanizing and Covanta Energy.