The inside, westbound lane of traffic over the Caney River Bridge on Tuxedo Boulevard is closed pending repairs after a pothole was reported early Tuesday.
“The pothole is located in the inside lane of the bridge and does not affect the outside lane,” said Director of Engineering Micah Siemers. “While the entire pothole had not penetrated the full depth of the deck, there was an area approximately 1-foot by 1-foot that had gone all the way through the deck.”
Siemers said that once the pothole was discovered, staff initially closed the westbound bridge completely so the condition of the rest of the bridge deck could be evaluated. All traffic was moved to the eastbound bridge with one lane of traffic in each direction to facilitate the evaluation.
“After further evaluation of the bridge deck, staff felt comfortable installing a steel plate over the pothole and closing the inside lane, while keeping the outside lane open to traffic,” he said.
The City of Bartlesville is currently under contract with Guy Engineering for design of a complete rehabilitation of the bridge, a project that was approved as part of the August 2020 General Obligation Bond election. Design started last October, and the project should be ready to bid sometime in late spring or early summer, he said.
“All of the bridges owned by the City of Bartlesville are included in the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s off-system bridge inspection program and are inspected bi-annually,” Siemers said. “The genesis of the G.O. Bond bridge rehabilitation project came from this inspection program. Through that process, it was determined that the bridge deck and bearings needed to be replaced along with some other preventative maintenance work on the piers and abutments. Due to some of the issues with the bearings, the bridge was added to a more frequent inspection cycle.”
Guy Engineering is already scheduled to inspect the bridge later this month, which will help determine what actions are taken next, Siemers said.
“Staff will wait for the inspection results and determine whether it makes sense to go ahead and patch the deck to get both lanes open to traffic until construction starts, or if it makes more sense to leave the inside lane closed leading up to, and during, construction,” he said. “If it were just a matter of patching the small pothole, we would do this now, but it appears we may have to expand how much of the deck is replaced, or we may end up with additional potholes before construction starts.”
Siemers said the roadway and bridge are safe for travel while awaiting inspection results.
“The reinforcing steel is in good condition, the bridge is structurally sound and is in no danger of failure,” he said.