Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Public Affairs Division

200 N.E. 21st Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Phone: 405-521-6000, Fax: 405-521-2524



June 26, 2002

PR# 02-047

One month anniversary of I-40 bridge crash observed

            Today is the one-month anniversary of the tragic barge collision that brought down part of the I-40 bridge near Webbers Falls.

            In that month, a great deal has happened.

            With the cooperation of many organizations, local, state and federal, the reopening of this important cross country highway was put on the fast track and rebuilding of the destroyed section of the bridge is well under way.

            “Cooperation by the Cherokee Nation has facilitated the project and has been invaluable in helping speed the construction by immediately making areas accessible to the contractor,” Oklahoma Transportation Secretary Herschal Crow said.

            Jensen Construction Co. completed the demolition and removal of the fallen bridge section in just over two weeks. Gilbert Central Corporation, the prime contractor for the rebuilding, has gone to work at full steam to have four lanes of traffic moving over the bridge less than two months after the start of work.

            “In spite of the progress that has been made, there’s no way to replace the lives that were lost a month ago,” ODOT Director Gary Ridley noted. “That fact will always be a part of our feelings about this bridge.”

            The investigation of the incident by the National Transportation Safety Board is continuing. All aspects of the situation are under scrutiny, including the condition of the bridge, barge company procedures and the health of the barge pilot.