Durant bridge reopens after delays - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Durant bridge reopens after delays

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The new Chuckwa Creek bridge on North First Avenue has wider shoulders. (KTEN) The new Chuckwa Creek bridge on North First Avenue has wider shoulders. (KTEN)

DURANT, Okla. -- Five months of detours have come to an end for Durant motorists.

Tuesday was the first full day of operation for the Chuckwa Creek bridge on North First Avenue near Wilson Street since the span was closed last May.

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation does routine maintenance on the bridge, and after nearly seven decades of operation, the structure needed to be replaced.

The $1.6 million project was supposed to be complete by mid-August, but wet weather and utility conflicts caused the delay.

"We quickly realized that because of all the rain from the summer and all the weather and all the other delays that it pushed the project back a couple of months,which is unfortunate," Durant City Manager Tim Rundel said. "But I think it's going to be well worth it once it opens up to the public ... and we can get traffic flowing back-and-forth on First Street again."

The new bridge has wider shoulders for the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, especially Southeastern Oklahoma State University students who use the span to get to and from campus.

"It's important to Southeastern too because that bridge is what connects us to our softball field, to our new cross country track, and to our fiscal plant," SOSU President Sean Burrage said.

And now that commuters don't have to go miles out of their way, they can save on gas... and time.

"Everyone's happy at City Hall," Rundel said. "I know the citizens are going to be happy to hear about it as well."

Workers are still putting some finishing touches on the project, which is expected to be complete within a week..

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