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OFFICIALS: Lexington bridge problem dates back to 1938

LEXINGTON, Okla. – New details about the closed bridge that connects Purcell to Lexington.

State Representative David Perryman District 56 (D) wants someone to take responsibility for its failure. “We’ve got a bridge that is potentially ready to collapse under its own weight,” said Perryman during a press conference.

Last year a company in Sapulpa was paid more than a million dollars to make repairs. But after this year’s inspection the bridge was found to be structurally deficient and not safe for travel.

Engineers discovered the problem has to do with the building material.

“The beam that’s the main support was made with manganese,” said Terri Angier with Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT).

So the last rehab project actually made the bridge worse than it was before. ODOT reps say it was built in 1938, but detailed records weren’t kept until 1950 so the department had no idea the bridge was made of manganese — which makes all the difference when it comes to repairs.

Perryman said, “They should know, that should be easily and readily identifiable.” He continued, “The contractor should have performed certain test before beginning work as well.”

We contacted the company and spoke to the owner.

“The Department of Transportation has not indicated any kind of contractor negligence,” said James Barnard. He also stated they understand the impact this has on the area and has offered to give free materials to the new contractor.

“The contractor did what we asked their company to do and that’s what they did,” said Angier. News Channel 4 asked, who is responsible? “It’s certainly something we said from day one that we take responsibility for. It wasn’t in the plans, it’s not an excuse, but its information that was not available to us,” she said.

The ODOT said this bridge is only one of two of the 6800 bridges in Oklahoma that’s made out of manganese.