Cherokee Bridge reconstruction underway

April 5, 2022

ODOT project includes realignment of Delaware, Highway 123

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation is set to begin the Cherokee Bridge reconstruction project this week. The project includes replacing the State Highway 123 Bridge over the Caney River and realigning the bridge/intersection east of its current location.

The State-owned bridge is located north of the intersection of Hensley Boulevard and Cherokee Avenue. During the reconstruction process, the bridge/intersection will be realigned to Hensley Boulevard and Delaware Avenue, approximately one block east of the current location.

The City Council approved a resolution Monday for a traffic signal maintenance agreement with ODOT for a signal at the new intersection,

“With the City’s input, ODOT decided to realign State Highway 123 with Delaware Avenue rather than Cherokee Avenue, as this allows a large portion of the new bridge to be constructed prior to closing State Highway 123 to remove the existing bridge,” said Director of Engineering Micah Siemers. “This alignment also eliminates the awkward five-leg intersection at Cherokee and Hensley.”

Siemers said ODOT completed a traffic study to determine traffic signal needs with the new alignment, which concluded that a signal will still be warranted at Cherokee Avenue and Hensley Boulevard despite the realignment. He said the City will continue maintenance responsibilities of that signal in addition to the new one.

“Maintenance and operation of traffic signals has always been the responsibility of municipalities,” he said. “The City of Bartlesville operates and maintains all of the traffic signals on U.S. Highway 75, U.S. Highway 60, and State Highway 123, which are located within our city limits.”

ODOT contract crews will relocate utilities and construct the new bridge piers before closing Highway 123 and removing the existing Cherokee Bridge, Siemers said.

“They need to utilize the embankment material on the existing bridge at the new alignment, so they will have to close the highway once they are ready to begin that work,” he said. “Lane closures will also occur on Hensley while they reconstruct the intersections at Cherokee and Delaware during the project, which is expected to take approximately two years to complete. More than likely they will build out a half at a time so Hensley can remain open to traffic, but would be reduced to one lane in each direction.”