OKLAHOMA CITY – Just hours before rush hour Thursday, part of a major bridge collapsed in the metro.
Around 2:40 p.m., the May Avenue bridge that crosses over Northwest Expressway collapsed after a semi hauling a boom lift hit the bridge.
Fortunately, no injuries were reported.
The driver of the truck told police he passed under the other side of the bridge earlier with no issue.
The clearance on each side is four inches apart.
One side of the bridge has a maximum height of 14 feet and eight inches.
The side that collapsed only has a maximum height of 14 feet and four inches.
City officials say it’s not uncommon for one half of a bridge to be marked a different height than the other.
City officials insist the impact of the collision knocked down part of the bridge.
They say it was not a design or a maintenance-related issue.
The city said the bridge was built in 1952.
A man who studies bridges told KFOR that this bridge, like other older bridges, lacks sheer connectors.
“They pour the concrete down in between those sheer connectors, and it all becomes one piece at that time. So, if you hit it, everything wiggles, but it may not fall down. So, in this case, it’s an older bridge. You had a bridge beam, and you had the concrete deck on top of it. Bridge beam was hit. It shifted. The entire thing fell down,” Bobby Stem said.
May Avenue and the Northwest Expressway are closed in all directions where they intersect until further notice.
Officials said engineers are evaluating the damage to the bridge.
An estimate on the time needed for repairs won’t be available until the evaluation is complete.
Plans for permanent repairs should be finished within 10 days.
Contractors are expected to start cleaning up the area Friday evening, city officials said.
Removal of the debris could take two to three days, depending on the weather.
A quote issued Friday morning estimates the cost of removing the damaged part of the bridge is $55,000.
City officials believe eastbound lanes of Northwest Expressway near the intersection could reopen next week.
Officials will start taking bids from companies to fix the bridge as soon as possible.
This isn’t the first time the bridge has been struck, causing a collapse.
According to the Oklahoman, the bridge suffered significant damage when a truck hauling a backhoe hit the underpass in 1993.
The crash caused the southbound lanes of the bridge to collapse, and five people were injured.