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Crews to begin construction project on Belle Isle Bridge

OKLAHOMA CITY - Drivers may need to find an alternate route for their daily commute as repair crews focus their attention on one of Oklahoma City's busiest bridges.

In 2015, construction crews discovered that the Belle Isle Bridge was in desperate need of repairs.

"Years of leaky joints and water getting on the pier caps, the salt gets on the caps and causes some rust," said Construction Engineer Joe Echelle.

As a result, it was deemed "structurally deficient" until crews repaired 65 of the 95 piers that stabilized the bridge.

Now, the bridge will undergo additional work. Something drivers we spoke to feel is overdue.

“You have everything falling apart and you’re just stuck. You know?," said driver B.C. Summers.

“That’s kind of scary," said driver Carla Stephenson. "That’s kind of scary knowing we’ve been driving over it and it’s pretty bad.”

The Oklahoma Department of Transportation announced that crews will be working on the Belle Isle Bridge beginning on Monday, March 13.

Crews will be replacing and sealing the expansion joints, along with applying a protective coating to the pier caps underneath. Officials say the project will keep water, salt and sand from seeping through the bridge piers and causing further damage.

Officials say I-44 will be narrowed to two lanes in each direction after rush hour, then narrowed to one lane in each direction from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for the duration of the project.

The speed limit on I-44 will be reduced to 40 miles per hour in the work zone through the duration of the project.

Also, the I-44 ramps at Classen Blvd. and Northwest Expressway will be closed intermittently but not at the same time.

Drivers are encouraged to either find an alternate route or expect congestion in the area.