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I-44/Belle Isle bridge reaching major milestones, moving along

Friday, October 16, 2015

I-44/Belle Isle bridge reaching major milestones, moving along
Oct. 16, 2015
PR# 15-045

After overcoming many obstacles this spring and summer, all lanes of the I-44 Belle Isle bridge between Penn Ave. and Western Ave. and ramps to Northwest Expressway are now open. This stretch was slated to open just before the upcoming holidays but quick work and agreeable weather allowed crews to expedite the project and open well before.

Crews opened the narrowed lanes of Northwest Expressway Friday which is the final stretch directly affecting traffic. However, the shoulders of I-44 will remain closed through January to accommodate the work site.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s contractor, Oklahoma-based Sherwood Construction Co., worked days, nights and weekends to rehabilitate several bridge piers, allowing the previously closed lanes of I-44 to reopen in June. Additional  work required the ramps to remain closed longer.

The emergency contract with Sherwood Construction was originally awarded in May after extensive damage was discovered during a routine rehabilitation project performed by Restek, Inc. The bridge's deterioration is due to years of wear and tear and corrosion by salt and water.

The ongoing rehabilitation project by Restek continues, with crews working under the bridge, focusing on the other, less deteriorated piers. Work on those piers started in March and is anticipated to be completed in early 2016 and is not expected to impact traffic. The total cost of the combined contracts is $16.5 million with up to $1.5 million in possible incentives for reopening the lanes and ramps early and other built-in milestones.

Engineers estimate the work will preserve the structure for about 15 years and remove the bridge’s “structurally deficient” status. The two projects together address 95 piers. The Belle Isle bridge currently carries 100,000 vehicles per day.

Timeline of Belle Isle bridge repairs
• March - The initial $3 million bridge rehabilitation project by Restek began.
• April - ODOT closed lanes and ramps after Restek’s work uncovered more extensive deterioration than expected on nearly half of the bridge’s piers. 
• April - Executive Director Mike Patterson issued an emergency declaration and tasked Sherwood Construction to perform a $500,000 interim project to reinforce the most deteriorated piers.
• May - The Oklahoma Transportation Commission authorized ODOT to solicit bids for an emergency project to repair the extensive deterioration.
• May - The $13.5 million emergency contract with Sherwood Construction for the major repair project was approved.
• June - The closed lanes of I-44 reopened.
• August – Westbound I-44 off-ramp to NW Expwy opened.
• October - The eastbound NW Expwy on-ramp to eastbound I-44 opened, NW Expwy lanes all open.
• Early 2016 - All routine rehabilitation work by Restek is scheduled for completion.

Caption: Work continues on reinforcing the most deteriorated piers under the I-44 Belle Isle bridge in Oklahoma City. Friday, crews finished the last project affecting traffic, opening all lanes and ramps of I-44 and Northwest Expressway.

(Editors and News Directors: For more information call the ODOT Media & Public Relations Division at 405-521-6000.)

Last Modified on Oct 23, 2020
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