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Crews complete final repairs for high-traffic bridge connecting town towns

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PURCELL, LEXINGTON, Okla. - A “load has been lifted” in Purcell and Lexington as a construction contractor for the Oklahoma Department of Transportation completed final repairs to the James C. Nance bridge on US-77/SH-39 and the temporary 15 ton load posting was increased for varying types of vehicles up to 36 tons today.

Fully loaded school buses will now be permitted to cross the bridge, as the previous restriction that applied to all vehicles was replaced with a three-level load posting that applies to specific types of trucks.

With the close proximity to I-35, the movement of heavy commercial truck traffic should remain mostly unaffected.

With completion of the repairs, ODOT will no longer require 24/7 surveillance of the bridge, but the Oklahoma Highway Patrol will continue to monitor the area and enforce truck size and weight regulations.

Construction crews are finishing painting the repaired areas of the bridge and cleaning the work site. Daily inspection of the bridge will continue for a time, as ODOT monitors the performance of the bridge repairs under truck traffic. If no additional issues arise, inspections may occur less frequently, but will continue until the bridge is eventually replaced.

Completion of the repairs brings a close to the months-long saga that began in late January when bridge was closed after ODOT found cracks in areas of the bridge beams associated with welds made on an unusual type of manganese steel. A contract for emergency bridge repairs was expedited and awarded in February and the bridge reopened to traffic on June 13.