The I-44/Turner Turnpike bridge collided with a semi truck causing diversions

The I-44/Turner Turnpike bridge collided with a semi truck causing diversions

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority says the Stroud Bridge over I-44/Turner Turnpike was severely damaged due to an illegally high semi-truck.

OTA officials confirm that westbound motorists heading to Stroud should exit at Bristow.

OTA engineers said the damage caused by an illegal high-rise semi-tractor trailer to the Stroud Bridge over the I-44-Turner Turnpike’s westbound lanes late Wednesday night was more severe than any of them had seen in their transportation careers.

As of early Thursday morning, all lanes on the westbound I-44/Turner Turnpike were open and by mid-morning Thursday, the westbound Turner Turnpike ramp was open to traffic. The westbound Turner Turnpike ramp to SH-99 in Stroud will remain closed until bridge repairs can be made. Westbound motorists wishing to exit to Stroud are diverted to
Bristow Exit (mm 196) to SH-66 to Stroud.

There are mounted message boards on the westbound Turner Turnpike directing Stroud traffic to Bristow.

The bridge has a vertical clearance of more than 15 feet over Turner Turnpike and serves as a westbound on- and off-ramp (179 mm) to SH-99 in Stroud.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, the load the semi-tractor trailer was carrying was more than 15 feet high and struck the bridge with such force that it dislodged the bridge beam and caused damage to the bridge deck and parapet wall above. When the bridge beam fell to the ground, it collided with a second truck that was following the first truck, causing severe damage to the vehicle.

“It is incredible that this accident did not result in a death or serious injury,” OTA Deputy Director Joe Eichel said. “We are extremely grateful that the driver of the second vehicle, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, walked away from this accident. The damage to the bridge is serious and unlike any I have seen in my 20-plus year career in the transportation industry.”

OTA maintenance crews were called to the scene by OHP within minutes of the bridge impact and quickly closed the I-44/Turner Turnpike lanes and I-44/Turner Turnpike westbound on- and off-ramps while the bridge, crew and I were evaluated. Responders cleared the scene.

Transportation Secretary and OTA Executive Director Tim Gaetz issued an emergency declaration Thursday morning, which allows for immediate repairs to restore the structural integrity of the bridge, making it safe for the public traveling on and under the bridge.

Once work begins, motorists can expect lane closures and ramp closures on westbound I-44/Turner Turnpike in Stroud for up to a week. Specific information on trail closures will be provided when it becomes available.

“We continue to see damage to our state transportation infrastructure from illegal over-height semi trucks. This is a critical issue that we call on those in the trucking industry to address,” Gatz said, while OTA and the Oklahoma Department of Transportation do their part. While the bridges are being rebuilt to a vertical height of 17 feet as funds allow, Oklahoma law still requires trucks to be no higher than 14 feet to travel safely in the state. System of highways and major roads.

We implore truck drivers to follow all Oklahoma laws and work with our size and weights
Allowing the office to ensure the safety of all travelers on our roads and that our infrastructure remains unscathed from such reckless actions.

This bridge will be removed as part of a future ACCESS Oklahoma project within OTA’s long-term infrastructure improvement plan. OTA will continue to expand I-44/Turner Turnpike to six lanes between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

The widening projects are expected to begin in 2024, however, realignment and widening of the I-44/Turner Turnpike at Stroud is expected to occur later in the 15-year long-range plan.

Learn more about the long-term plan here.

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