The Edmond Sun

State News

May 9, 2014

ODOT makes final preparations to replace S.H. 33 bridge

GUTHRIE — Businesses near the State Highway 33 bridge over Cottonwood Creek will feel some impact from impending construction to replace the outdated bridge, officials said at a public meeting this week.

However, Guthrie Mayor Mark Spradlin said he thought the Oklahoma Department of Transportation did a good job explaining the $16.4 million project and looks forward to the bridge’s replacement.

“There were not a lot of surprises because they have been working on this for a while,” Spradlin said. “I think the meeting went really well. I think the people were happy with what they were told. It is going to take a while but it will be fantastic once it is finished.”

ODOT, in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration, had a public meeting Thursday night to discuss plans for the proposed improvements to the State Highway 33 bridge over Cottonwood Creek and the BNSF railroad in Guthrie.

This was the final meeting before an environmental assessment of the project is sent to the Federal Highway Administration for approval and ODOT begins the right-of-way property process later this summer. The meeting was at the Oklahoma Sports Museum, 315 W. Oklahoma.

“The right-of-way process will begin and landowners should begin to be contacted later this summer after the Federal Highway Administration approves the environmental document,” said Cole Hackett, ODOT spokesperson. “It is dependent on how long the Federal Highway Administration takes to finish their review, which is typically a month to a month and a half starting after the (public) comment period from (Thursday) night’s meeting closes.”

Scott Stegman serves as environmental project manager with CP&Y, which is the environmental consultant company ODOT hired to do the environmental assessment for the project.

He called the bridge, which was built in 1936, structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

The bridge, called the Viaduct by locals, has had structural issues in recent years. ODOT has had to temporarily close it at times to make repairs to the bridge structure and surface.

“This is a structurally deficient bridge,” Stegman said. “It is very narrow and has a lot of traffic congestion. The purpose of this project is to provide a structurally safe bridge.”

According to ODOT figures, the current average daily traffic for the bridge is 12,860. The future estimated average daily traffic count is 16,270 vehicles per day.

The proposed $16.4 million project consists of replacing the existing S.H. 33 bridge and approaches in order to improve sight distance, reduce road closures on S.H. 33 due to flooding as well as widening S.H. 33 to four lanes. Construction is expected to start in 2016.

The project limits are roughly from North 12th Street extending a half-mile east to Division Avenue.

The plan calls for the new bridge to be built in two phases. The first phase will add two lanes on the south side of the current bridge, which would raise the elevation 10 feet.

Once the southern portion of the new bridge is completed, traffic would be rerouted to the new lanes and the old bridge would be torn down. The northern two-lanes would be added to complete the bridge.

Stegman said it was important to keep traffic flow uninterrupted as possible.

Debbie Prather, co-owner of the Stable’s Café located at the corner of Division and Noble avenues, asked how the bridge construction was going to affect her business.

Brian Taylor, ODOT Division 4 engineer, told Prather once construction starts her business would be impacted as well as others along that street block.

“You will be inconvenienced by the construction,” Taylor said.

Casey Shell, ODOT’s chief engineer, said he was excited to see the bridge project get started.

“It is exciting to see this project moving on,” Shell said. “We are on a threshold of making it a reality.”

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