Public invited to Webbers Falls 20th Anniversary Ceremony on May 30
Members of the public and the media are invited by the Town of Webbers Falls to a ceremony on Memorial Day in Webbers Falls to remember the tragic loss of 14 lives and the momentous rebuilding effort that occurred 20 years ago after an errant barge struck the I-40 bridge over the Arkansas River.
Invited speakers include former Webbers Falls Mayor Jewell Horne-Hall, the Oklahoma Department of Transportation's Terri Angier and several other state and local officials.
I-40 Webbers Falls 20th Anniversary Ceremony
10 a.m., Monday, May 30
Webbers Falls City Park
101 S. River Rd.
Webbers Falls, Okla.
Following the barge hit on May 26, 2002, and the subsequent recovery effort and investigation by law enforcement, ODOT bridge engineers and construction contractors worked around-the-clock to replace the destroyed segment of I-40 and restore traffic in 64 days.
During the closure, all interstate traffic was detoured on inadequate rural state highways, which cast a national spotlight on Oklahoma’s terrible bridge conditions. The repair effort necessary to keep the detour routes open helped kick off major state funding reforms beginning in 2005 and a remarkable turnaround that saw Oklahoma move into the Top Ten nationally for good bridge conditions in 2020. The department has also invested in additional and improved pier protections for highway bridges across the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System.
For families traveling during Memorial Day weekend, this event is just a few miles off I-40 in beautiful Eastern Oklahoma, which features many nearby attractions including Lake Tenkiller, Lake Eufaula and Greenleaf State Park.