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Oklahoma's plan to repair bridges - KOAM TV 7

Oklahoma's plan to repair bridges

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Oklahoma Governor Marry Fallin has signed legislation that will dramatically increase funding to bridge repairs in the state.

Ottawa County officials say there are a lot of bridges that need work and attention and this new legislation will make a significant impact in doing just that.

Wyandotte resident John Cox drives across Bridge 84 every day says he and is happy to see the state stepping in to help.

The bridge is held together by two old railroad cars and Cox says it is often closed due to maintenance work or when it rains, and that means he has to go 15 miles out of his way.

"It gets pretty shaky, you can still get across it but there is a point where you can't," says Cox.  "We don't have any access whatsoever, we have to go around because the bridge washes out and school busses or nobody else can get  by."

There are 154 bridges in Ottawa County and according to a recent report 26% of those are structurally deficient.

"Some of them held up good, some of them didn't according to the traffic gone through them and the water that runs through them," says Gary Wyrick, Ottawa County Commissioner of District 2.

There are 34 bridges in Wyrick's district, and he says more than half of them are in poor condition.

The new legislation provides an additional $18 million starting next July to repair or replace every structurally deficient bridge, allowing the county to save in the long run.

"It's mostly a lot of repairing," Wyrick says.  "You have to have contractors come in and dig out and under them and it runs into a lot of money."

With the help of extra funds residents like Cox hope to never see a "road closed" sign near his home again.

The goal is to repair or replace all structurally deficient bridges in Oklahoma by 2019.  The money comes from motor vehicle fees.

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