(KTEN) — From Baltimore to Oklahoma, images of boats crashing into bridges are raising alarms for Texomans.

A barge struck a common highway bridge in Sallisaw, Oklahoma less than a week after the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore collapsed after being hit by a massive freighter.

"As I move around Texoma, I do cross those bridges," said Lee Roy Pettyjohn. "I am more concerned now since these things seem to be aging; they're getting older, and I am more concerned than I used to be."

A barge hit a highway bridge in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, on March 30, 2024.

 

Some area residents also expressed concerns about weather damage when traveling, particularly along US 69/75 over the Red River.

"Bridges, with the extreme weather here in Texas in summer and winter, have to undergo some stress," said Richard Shackelford. "I definitely think that that is going to be more of a concern."

Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim McAlavy said inspection protocols are in place for all bridges across the state.

"Every state-owned bridge in Texas is inspected once every two years," he said. "If we get a report between those times with any concerns about the bridge, we send someone out and the bridge is looked at again."

McAlavy said he believes the probability of a bridge collapsing in Texoma is low.

"The American Roadbuilders Association analyzed all the bridges in the nation back in 2023, and their analysis suggests that Texas bridges are among the safest in the nation," the TxDOT spokesperson said.

The 2023 report by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association showed more than 42,000 bridges across the nation — 6.8 percent — were considered to be "structurally deficient." An additional 304,000 bridges were ranked as being in "fair" condition.