The Woodward News

November 13, 2012

Bridges on transportation director’s mind

Chris Cooper
Woodward News

Woodward, Okla. — Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Gary Ridley gave an overview of transportation projects to Woodward Chamber of Commerce members at Monday's monthly luncheon.

Ridley discussed the 8-year plan, which includes renovation or replacement of all the state's problem bridges. He said the state is making progress in regards to replacement and maintenance of its bridges.

Ridley said, "The Department of Transportation and Woodward have a close relationship as a hub of Northwest Oklahoma. As a hub, Woodward has a focus on the importance of transportation, that focus is something we share and appreciate."

According to the transportation department, nearly 730 bridge replacements and major rehabilitation projects are either currently under construction or had been completed between Jan 2006 and Oct 2012 with another 951 bridge renovations or replacements scheduled over the next 8 years.

One particular bridge of interest to those in Woodward county scheduled for replacement will be bridge on SH-15 over Turkey Creek, which has been deemed structurally deficient.

The wooden beams of the bridge appear to show significant wear, which is to be expected as Ridley said, "Wooden bridges haven't really been built since the 1930s.”

"We have a ways to go, but progress is being made. This 8 year plan considers expectant problems, and by the end of the decade we anticipate zero problem bridges,” Ridley added.

Ridley said the fate of Oklahoma's transportation plans would not be dependent on the political affiliation of those in charge of the project.

"This plan is independent of whoever is in charge of the Department of Transportation," said Ridley. "Transportation is not political, it is a priority."

Also discussed during the luncheon was Crystal Christmas' grand opening on Nov. 17 which will feature entertainment, the turning on of the lights and a fireworks extravaganza. Crystal Christmas runs nightly from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 17 through Dec. 31.

Crystal Christmas organizers said train rides will be available Thursday through Saturday nights from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Santa plans to be there on the weekends.